While IBM has strongly denied reports that it was set to fire 26% of its workforce, staff say they have been given urgent requests to meet their managers.
Staff within Big Blue have been receiving requests from their managers for one-on-one meetings as fears of widespread lay-offs grow, claims a union that represents IBM employees in the US.
According to a notice posted on the Alliance@IBM website, the union "is receiving information from employees that a 'resource action' or mass job cut will start Wednesday January 28 in the US and Canada".
The notice says such a "resource action" is already in progress in Australia and asks for any employees at IBM to send related information, which it says will be treated confidentially.
The notice adds: "Once again senior management is trying to 'fix' the company by terminating the very people who can fix it. It is time for a clean sweep in the executive offices and Board of Directors. It is time for a new direction, one that values employees."
The news of imminent lay-offs comes a week after veteran Silicon Valley reporter Robert X Cringely, who recently published a book entitled The Decline And Fall Of IBM, reported that by the end of February, IBM would have gotten rid of 26% of its global workforce of 430,000 people - equating to some 111,800 job losses.
IBM flatly denied the validity of the report, though a spokesperson did confirm some lay-offs would take place. The spokesperson, speaking to WRAL Techwire, said the rumour "is ridiculous and off by a factor of more than 10".
This could suggest the lay-offs happening this week will be in the order of 10,000.
Job losses in India
As well as lay-offs taking place in North America, there are likely to be job losses in all of IBM's locations around the globe.
According to a report in the Economic Times, employees of IBM in India are "scrambling to find new jobs in IT services industry or even new careers at online retailing firms, engineering or telecommunication companies".
The report is based on comments from IBM employees who have already been fired and it reveals the company's workforce in the sub-continent has dropped from 165,000 in 2011 to just 100,000 today, while globally the company's workforce has gone from 433,000 to 430,000 in the same period, "suggesting that the layoffs have been particularly severe in India" the report says.