IBM lay-offs to bite Westpac: union

Summary:Nineteen redundancies announced at IBM's Baulkham Hills Flight Deck will hit operators on the technology giant's Westpac, Qantas, MLC and federal government contracts, according to the Australian Services Union (ASU) speaking today.

Nineteen redundancies announced at IBM's Baulkham Hills Flight Deck will hit operators on the technology giant's Westpac, Qantas, MLC and federal government contracts, according to the Australian Services Union (ASU) speaking today.

According to ASU branch secretary Sally McManus, 19 employees so far have been informed by IBM management that their "jobs will be abolished".

"The hardest hit are [the] operators on the Westpac contract," she said. "IBM is not offshoring or relocating these jobs, they are just abolishing them and expect those remaining to pick up all the extra work."

McManus said Westpac services would be affected by the loss of these employees.

"They are highly skilled in Tandem, which operates Westpac's ATM and POS [point of sale] network. Members believe this has the potential to have a serious negative impact on Westpac customers as ASU members keep their ATM and POS system operating," she said. "Should there be a fault once these workers leave, there will not be enough skilled workers to respond in a timely manner to fix this fault."

In a later statement, McManus said contracts with Qantas, MLC and the Federal Government would also be affected by redundancies and added that these roles would be abolished rather than being moved offshore.

McManus said the ASU believes the Westpac contract redundancies are retaliation against two employees who were witnesses at a Fair Work Australia case that granted the ASU the right to represent the workers in negotiations with IBM. An appeal of that win by IBM is expected to be heard at the end of July.

In a statement provided to ZDNet Australia, IBM did not confirm the redundancies but said clients would be unaffected while IBM "continuously transforms its business".

"We are working directly with our employees to ensure their individual interests are central throughout the redeployment process," the statement said. "We respect the right of our employees to join unions, and we continue to engage with the ASU as required under the Fair Work Act, including the requirement to bargain in good faith."

Westpac, MLC and Qantas all refused to comment, stating it was a matter for IBM.

Spokespeople for the Federal Government had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

Update at 4:05pm, 28 May 2010: A statement from IBM has now been included.

Topics: Government, Banking, Government : AU, IBM, IT Employment, Travel Tech

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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