By Jennifer Booton
IBM has initiated layoffs that have so far reached more than 1,600 positions, according to employee group Alliance@IBM. IBM confirmed the layoffs on Thursday but would not provide "details of staffing plans," citing the competitive nature of its industry. It said "some level of workforce remix is a constant requirement" in its business and remains an "essential feature" of its business model.
Dozens of anonymous posts on Alliance@IBM claim that layoffs across a wide variety of regions and departments began this week, including at least 222 people in marketing for the software business and 165 in semiconductor research and development. More than 100 positions have also reportedly been axed in each of these departments: STG Storage Systems Development, GBS AMS IBM Global Account, the Software Group Information Management and the Software group Industry Solutions.
In total, 1,634 cuts have been reported, according to a posting on Alliance@IBM, which is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America union. The group says it will update the list Thursday night.
"I work in STG in 3D Edram Development and was informed of permanent layoff today," one person wrote on Alliance@IBM's site Wednesday.
"Atlanta POS Group hit hard. Storage and other groups hit too. Typical package," another person said.
"I am one of 83 Marketing & Communications employees being permanently laid off today. Separation date is 7/12. I work from home," another said.
Employees had been waiting for layoffs to begin ever since the Armonk, N.Y.-based computer company said that it would increase the pace of job cuts this quarter following a dismal quarterly earnings report in April where sales fell sharply below expectations.
IBM at the time did not say how many people would be let go, but IBM Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge said the tech giant expected to report close to $1 billion of accounting charges this year as it axed its workforce, with more reductions aimed at departments outside the U.S. Despite the recent cuts, IBM said it remains the largest technology employer in the world with roughly 434,000 people, according to recent Thomson Reuters data.
Shares of IBM ticked about $1.17 higher to $202.37 Thursday in recent trade. They are up about 5.6% on the year. Alliance's server was experiencing slowness on Wednesday due to the influx of postings from IBM employees.
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