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IBM: No compulsory redundancies in Systems Middleware

Up to 70 volunteers leave with a cheque and a smile as wide as America

IBM has confirmed that enough workers in the UK Systems Middleware division have volunteered to leave with a redundancy cheque, so compulsory lay-offs will not be required.

The plan to cut 10 per cent of the 736-strong business unit was put into action in February, when workers entered into consultation with Big Blue and formed an Employee Consultation Committee (ECC).

The resulting staff stampede saw more than 100 people express an interest in voluntary redundancy – way more that the quota IBM had to fill. Between 60 and 70 people will leave at the end of this week.

In a note to staff, seen by us, Rob Lamb, veep of SWG manufacturing and development for Europe and the Hursley Lab Leader for the software group, revealed the ECC’s closure.

“I am pleased to confirm that we will not need to effect any involuntary redundancies. As such, the final ECC was held on 27 March and it was agreed the consultation process would end on that date,” Lamb said.

There’s a trend emerging – IBM voluntary redundancy programmes were also heavily oversubscribed in the marketing and global services units before Christmas. Staff morale has been better, we are told.

Lamb described the situation as a “difficult time for all, not only due to the nature of the actions we took, but also the speed at which it was required to be executed”.

IBM revealed some weeks ago that should the year not progress as planned, it may look to run another redundancy process.

Sales growth has stalled at IBM for the past eleven quarters and it is looking to cut its cloth accordingly, to keep shareholders happy. At the same time as shipping out some of the old guard, the company also says it has job vacancies in certain areas, including the cloud. ®

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