job cuts lay-off fired sacked
IBM has begun a 'massive' round of job cuts with the axe falling on a reported one-third of its US workforce.iStock

IBM has begun a widespread culling of its US workforce with an estimated one-third of staff facing the axe according to those affected by the strategic shake-up of the technology company.

The job cuts, which are being described as "massive", come following IBM's announcement in January that it would be laying-off staff at its Global Technology Services (GTS) department in the US. Reports claim the axe has fallen on further departments as of Wednesday (2 March).

The news began to trickle out from the Facebook group of employee watchdog, WatchingIBM, with members posting their accounts of IBM's slash and burn policy. "I am a GTS Strategic Outsourcing casualty of the mass firing today. My manager told me it was big and widespread, and I'd be hearing from a lot of people that will also be notified today," said one user.

A soon-to-be-former IBM employee spoke to IEEE Spectrum about the situation: "It is bad, really bad. It's a mass lay-off today. It is a sad day for IBM. People are being told not to talk about it. I was told by a manager in getting the news [of my job being eliminated], who was reading off of a script, that one third of the US workforce is being 'rebalanced,' which is what they call it."

"Latest areas getting cut: AA IBM CMS Cloud Division; AMS Strategic Technical Services; Global Services Parts Operations; GTS Strategic Outsourcing. Workers are also reporting work is being moved offshore to Hungary and Brazil," claimed another affected by the cuts.

IBM's new direction

As of 2015 IBM was believed to have 378,000 employees worldwide and painted a positive spin on the impending job cuts announced by stating they have been hiring as many positions as they have lost. As part of a strategy to move business focus towards cloud computing services it hired 70,000 new employees in areas key to its new direction and the company claims it has 25,000 current open positions.

However, on the other side of the story, the same number of people were sacked and now it appears an even greater number face the same fate in the latest round of cuts. The exact number of employees who will lose their jobs is unknown and it could also affect IBM workers in the UK after the company warned over 1,300 GTS staff in the UK were at risk of redundancy.

IBM severance pay gets slashed

As a further kick in the stomach to the affected employees it was revealed that IBM would only be offering one month's severance pay as opposed to six months, which it used to operate as a policy.

"The big s*** job is that I'm only getting 1 month severance instead of the 25 weeks I am entitled when I was hired," a disgruntled former employee wrote on the Facebook group.

It is believed a lot of roles within the company are being farmed out to places like Brazil and India where the workforce is cheaper. Many employees who were fired claim they were actually training those outsourced individuals, only to see them take their job at the end of it.

"They are giving us 90 days paid working notice, one-month severance, and $2,500 in money for retraining.

IBM is trying to candy coat this thing, they will frame it as a skill set change. But we think it's more about jobs going to India and other places," the anonymous IBM worker told IEE Spectrum.

While any event of axing jobs is never a good thing, the news will come particularly hard to those forced to seek new employment after it was publicly revealed IBM CEO Virginia Rometty took home a $4.5m bonus last year.