IBM: Those 2 redundancy schemes? We need to 'improve margins' and right quick

There’s nothing wrong with our forecasti.... Er, pardon us for a minute


Exclusive IBM UK has tried to justify running two redundancy schemes concurrently in the Infrastructure Services Delivery team, telling staff that financial pressures forced its hand and it may take similar action again.

Some 30 roles are to be chopped under Project Baccarat, launched in February, and a newer, overlapping programme known as Project Ruby took shape last week, with another 40 heads set to roll.

In documents seen by El Reg, the Employee Consultation Committee - formed to give staff a voice in the proceedings - highlighted “collective concerns” among the workforce about the timing and reasons for the job cuts, IBM’s forecasting and the use of layoffs to meet short-term fiscal targets.

In a response logged in the minutes of the meetings, Deathly Debbie Hallows, veep of ISD for the UK and Ireland and executive programme sponsor for ECC, said management had a “planned vision in Q4 which drove the need for a level of headcount reduction in 2017.”

She said the market remained “very dynamic” and “highly competitive” but “some of the assumptions that underpinned our original plan have changed”.

“To ensure we continue to drive competitiveness and our transformation we will continue to drive parallel initiatives. However, we need to take action now to respond to new assumptions and this is why we have now started the new consultation process,” said Hallows.

Financial performance was the “focus”, and Big Blue needed to “improve margins and meet our business objectives”.

Staff had until noon on 23 March to express interest in voluntary redundancy. If IBM does not identify the 40 roles in that phase, ranking for involuntary redundancy all takes place from 5 to 18 April. Those that put their hands up to leave will do so on 23 June and will be bundled out of the door on 13 August.

The proposed selection ranking criteria includes skills level, performance, adaptability and flexibility, potential and business impact.

IBM stated in the doc:

The timing of this action reflects the speed with which IBM must drive its transformation…Voluntary and involuntary redundancies may be required and up to 40 roles may be eliminated.

The background to these changes is that IBM wants, by the end of this year, to employ eight out of 10 services staff in countries where wages are comparatively lower. ®

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