IBM warns it may have to cut 1,200 jobs in France within two years

Summary:IBM has detailed its predictions for its French business over the coming years, with the tech giant expecting to have to reduce its local workforce by more than 14 percent.

IBM is poised to cut over 1,000 jobs from its French workforce in the coming years.

On Wednesday, IBM France presented its 'bi-annual business estimates' during a meeting of the central business committee. ZDNet managed to get a look figures included in the estimates, which forecast a total of 1,226 job cuts within two years.

According to the figures, two areas of the business will be hit the hardest: IBM France expects to have to bring down its services workforce to 1192 jobs from 1696, and its local support functions to 929 from 1233 today. The company had a headcount of just over 8,500 in the country at the end of 2012, the estimates said.

However, it's not yet known if there will be any redundancies.  "No decision has been made regarding a potential worker adjustment program," the company said in a statement.

The French union CGT said it expects IBM to outline plans for job cuts in May.

IBM is conducting "business as usual", CGT said, while Pierry Poquet, central representative of the UNSA union, told French newspaper Libération that IBM employed 26,000 people in France back in 1998. UNSA claims IBM has been cutting an average of a thousand jobs a year in France over the past 15 years.

Any potential cuts could be held up by what's known in France as an 'economic alert'. In such cases, an economic alert can be used to force a company to provide more details regarding its plans and can eventually lead to the organisation having to create a formal and costly 'work adjustment plan'.

While IBM's larger unions were in a position to trigger such an alert, none chose to do so. Instead, the unions charged the central works council secretary with "setting up a technical and legal expert mission" to look into the economic justification for IBM's plan and whether the numbers mentioned in the business estimates are appropriate. The unions haven't ruled out the possibility of triggering an economical alert "if things happen to take too long".

IBM recently saw its share price suffer its biggest one-day drop in eight years , after a disappointing set of first-quarter results . Revenue in EMEA was $7.3bn for the quarter, down four percent year on year.

Topics: IBM, EU, IT Employment

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A graduate in networking and databases and an author of several books about Apple gear, Valéry Marchive has been covering the French IT landscape since the late 90s, both for the consumer and enterprise sectors.

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