This week IBM began to swing the axe on its workforce, in what was described as a "mass firing" across a number of divisions. The action could could see up to one-third of jobs at the US company canned.
The news leaked out from affected former employees on a Facebook group called Watching IBM, where a long list of members described being given their marching orders on 2 March.
The comments posted on the Watching IBM page – some of which were posted anonymously others from Facebook accounts in which the account holder states they are an IBM employee – described the event as "brutal" and a "very sad day". Another said that the "wheels are falling off the wagon" at Big Blue. Comments seen on the page included:
"I am a GTS Strategic Outsourcing casualty of the mass firing today. My manager told me it was 'big and widespread.'"
"Entire group of 77 hardware planners fired."
"Let me confirm that although I had high hopes when I joined last year that place is one poorly-managed, directionless pit of total chaos."
Many also voiced outrage, claiming that the company's severance pay policy left them with just one month's pay, rather than six.
"The big screw job is that I'm only getting 1 month severance instead of the 25 weeks I am entitled when I was hired. I'm thrilled I will be gone in 90 days and 'stick them' for my vacation pay."
"Got laid off after 36 YEARS and get '30 days' of severance!!! Thanks a lot IBM. ...criminal."
Lots of the posts came from individuals who claim they were employed by IBM for many years, and in some cases decades.
"After 41 plus years I got the call today. How many more ways can they take from hard working IBM'rs? I was ready to go last year when they had the severance package. Why didn't they do it then? We have been living and working with this "writing on the wall" for years."
"20 year employee here, another 20 year on my team, and a 25 year on my team… all got axed."
"I got word that after 34 years, I am gone. One thing that concerned me was my manager saying: 'We tried to target people who are retirement-eligible.'"
One reason for the restructuring is the reported outsourcing of work to countries with lower labour costs, such as India and Brazil. IBM employees described how they had to train their replacements from other countries, knowing they would eventually take their job.
"I am cut while my replacement h1b visa worker stays."
"I'm a 20-year employee transitioned years ago from a client site. Have been training my replacements in India for more than a month now so I was fully aware this was coming."
"Eventually the entire IBM workforce will be overseas and contractors. IBM used to take care of their employees. Those days are long gone."
"The team has been spread increasingly thin over the last year to the point where we really can't keep the service up and running smoothly and keep customers happy with the continuous improvements they expect… the wheels are falling off the wagon."
IBM has denied the claims of a "mass firing" and spoke of how it is in a period of hiring. However, it appears to be a case of one hand giving, while the other takes away. What the company cannot deny is the sheer numbers of voices speaking out on the situation and that they are now looking for work.