Ho-ho-heave ho! IBM warns Global Business Services staffers of that most festive of things: A 45-day redundancy programme

More than 100 heads to exit UK division in the New Year, and then there's Scandanavia


IBM has almost topped and tailed this calendar year with redundancies in the Global Business Services division – staff across Northern Europe are heading into the Christmas period amid uncertainty about whether they’ll have a job in 2021.

Employees were warned on Friday that they are entering a 45-day consultation process from 17 November indicating that more than 100 individuals are for the chop. An Employee Consultation Council is to be elected this week, comprised of management and staff representatives.

“The reason given was to restructure and re-skill for the hybrid cloud, AI and Intelligent Workflow markets,” one IBM insider told The Register. “COVID-19 was not mentioned.”

The redundancies are also intended to “reduce capacity in areas not aligned to [IBM’s] strategy.”

“The only confirmation in writing was the follow up email to a botched WebEx call that saw hundreds if not thousands of people unable to attend due to the maximum number of persons on the call being reached,” our insider added.

The whole of the GBS organisation in the UK are believed to be at risk in this round, while counterparts in Denmark – around 325 roles – and some 70 heads in Norway, Sweden and Finland are also believed to be earmarked for the big heave-ho.

“Having this loom over us during the festival period is, I agree, cold,” our insider added.

In the nine months ended 30 September [PDF], GBS shrank 4.1 per cent year-on-year to $11.992bn.

The latest jobs purge comes just months after IBM said goodbye to UK personnel in both GBS and Global Technology Services. That process kicked off in February. Around 180 people left GBS, we were told, but this number remains unconfirmed.

Just weeks ago, Big Blue went public with its decision to spin off most of GTS into a separately traded public company, however GBS – which provides professional services – was highlighted by IBM CEO Arvin Krishna as being a strategic asset that provides consultancy when customers are considering the near-term future of their infrastructure.

An IBM spokesperson told us: “Our workforce decisions are made to best support our clients on their journey to adopting an open hybrid cloud platform and AI capability, and we are reinvesting in our business. We continue to make significant investments in education and skills development for IBMers to better meet our clients’ needs.” ®


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