IBM Australia safe from US cuts?

IBM Australia and New Zealand today said it had "no planned redundancy programs" following the news that it planned to shed 5,000 roles in the US and bolster its Indian operations.

IBM Australia and New Zealand today said it had "no planned redundancy programs" following the news that it planned to shed 5,000 roles in the US and bolster its Indian operations.

"In the first quarter of 2009, we increased our total employee population, including a significant number of graduate and professional hires. We have no planned redundancy programs," a spokesperson for IBM told ZDNet.com.au in a statement today, referring to the local division.

In response to the proposed cuts, members of IBM's unionised US workforce under Alliance@IBM have launched an online campaign under the banner "Job Cut Status!", which has opened a page for member feedback.

The group has reported current cutbacks of 1674 cuts to the company's US Application Services division. It also reported the numbers IBM was seeking in each of its regions for 2009, with IBM's Indian and Asia-Pacific operations hiring the largest numbers — 18,873 and 13,476 respectively.

While IBM Australia today said it had no redundancy programs in place, one respondent who claimed to be a part of IBM's Australian operations posted that he had been laid off, despite the company's healthy financial performance.

"I work for IBM Asia Pacific Region and currently with IBM Australia — a 26-year veteran with IBM. Just been told that I am terminated along with many others here, although the region kept reporting increase in business results!!", the anonymous poster wrote today.

IBM's spokesperson read the comment but said that despite it the company's statement that it had no planned redundancy programs in place remained true.

"There is no redundancy program. That is true... Like any large services business, we are constantly evaluating our mix of skills and resources and making changes as needed to ensure that we are aligned with the market and the specific needs of our clients," the spokesperson said.

IBM has insisted since industry-wide redundancies begun occurring in Australia last year that its staff had been spared from a similar fate. In December last year IBM said it was relocating regional roles back to in-country roles as part of a restructure that targeted thousands of roles at its Japanese operations.

"IBM Asia-Pacific is conducting an internal reorganisation to move highly skilled employees out of our regional headquarters and back into the countries to be closer to our clients," an IBM spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au at the time.

The company's US layoff announcement comes shortly after US financial publication Wall Street Journal reported IBM's plan to acquire Sun Microsystems for US$6.5 billion.

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