- REUTERS/Thomas Peter
IBM handed out another batch of pink slips to workers on Wednesday, in a round of layoffs that some employees described as “massive.”
The exact size of the layoffs could not be determined, but the job cuts are part of ongoing changes to the tech company’s workforce.
IBM won’t comment on or disclose how many people it cuts except to confirm that it is continuously shedding some workers while hiring others, and to report the financial impact, both in costs and savings.
Last year, IBM hired and fired in almost equal numbers. It added 70,000 people, CEO Ginni Rometty said (including a woman who had launched a social media campaign for IBM to hire her as the “world’s oldest intern.”)
But, according to research done by Business Insider, it chopped slightly more than 70,000 people, too, through a combination of attrition, layoffs, retirement, people leaving for other jobs and business units it divested.
IBM ended 2015 with a worldwide headcount of 377,757, it reported. So that’s a workforce churn of 18%.
One month severance
But the big difference with this layoff is that IBM has severely cut severance pay to one month total, no matter how many years of service the employee worked, several workers have confirmed to a Facebook page called “Watching IBM.” The page is maintained by Lee Conrad, the man who ran a former IBM employee watchdog organization called Alliance at IBM. He retired the Alliance organization last year, but through Facebook he’s still posting information from workers about layoffs and other working conditions at IBM.
Employees learned of the severance cut in January, 2016, when IBM sent out an employee document called “About Your Benefits – Separation” which Conrad shared with Business Insider.
In the document IBM explained that its “Individual Separation Allowance Plan (ISAP) … is to provide transitional assistance to regular employees … when their employment with IBM has been terminated.” That includes if they are fired for performance issues or when their “position” is “eliminated” (aka a layoff).
The document flat-out told them that “The separation allowance payment available under the Individual Separation Allowance Plan, regardless of the circumstance under which ISAP is offered, is one month of pay.”
In previous layoffs, IBM employees could expect a severance package that paid them based on how many years they worked. According to Conrad, that pay used to be up to 23 weeks.
Here’s a part of one post from an IBM worker who reported being laid off today. This person worked for IBM’s Global Technology Services division, a consulting unit with revenues that have been shrinking for years and which was down nearly 10% in fiscal 2015, IBM reported in January.
GTS has been heavy hit with these ongoing layoffs, as IBM looks to shed expenses from its shrinking businesses.
I am a GTS Strategic Outsourcing casualty of the mass firing today. My manager told me it was big and widespread, and I’d be hearing from a lot of people that will also be notified today. My official end date is May 31, 2016 (90 days) and the severance package is 1 month. I was encouraged to look for jobs inside IBM and was told that they are “plentiful” and “open”. Even if I were to believe that, I’m not sure why I would stay, looking over my shoulder every month or so waiting for the IBM axe wielders to come for me again.
An IBM official confirms that it is continuing to cut jobs in some departments while offering bountiful help-wanted listings on others.
A spokesperson sent us this statement:
“IBM is aggressively transforming its business to lead in a new era of cognitive and cloud computing. This includes remixing skills to meet client requirements. To this end, IBM hired more than 70,000 professionals in 2015, many in these key skills areas, and currently has more than 25,000 open positions.”