IBM may layoff 2,600 APAC workers

IBM is reported to be cutting 2,600 jobs across its Asia-Pacific operations, but Big Blue could only confirm an "internal reorganization" is under way.

IBM reportedly plans to cut 2,600 jobs across its Asia-Pacific operations, although Big Blue would only say that there is a "reorganization" under way.

According to The Australian IT, Japan would be hardest hit by the planned cuts, with 1,000 set to go there. Another 1,600 jobs will go elsewhere across the region.

It was not clear earlier today whether Australian IBM staff would be affected by the reported cull, however IBM has now said that Australian staff under its Asia-Pacific arm would be exposed to an "internal reorganization" that was not expected to result in local redundancies.

"IBM Asia Pacific is conducting an internal reorganization 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 Asia's sister sites ZDNet Australia by e-mail.

"We do not expect any redundancies to be associated with this program in Australia, and we do not comment on the details of internal reorganizations."

IBM also clarified its position on the cutbacks affecting Japan, which it said were part of its Career Choice Retirement Plan--a financial package aimed at facilitating early retirement.

"IBM Japan is conducting a voluntary retirement scheme, which was publicly announced some time ago. The Career Choice Retirement Plan is a financial assistance program for employees who voluntarily retire at the age of 55. Since this is a voluntary retirement scheme, IBM Japan cannot predict how many employees will be involved," the IBM spokesperson said.

IBM has insisted that within Australia it would "continue to hire as needed to support market demand".

The report follows an announcement earlier that Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson would cut 300 Australian positions, despite healthy profits over the past few years from its Australian operations.

Competitor EDS has also announced plans to lay off several hundred staff as part of its merger with Hewlett-Packard.