23rd May 2005 Trade unions representing workers at IBM have declared today a ‘day of action’ to protest the company’s plan to slash up to 13,000 jobs.
IT workers’ groups and unions have called upon IBM staff across the globe to express their dissatisfaction with the job cuts, most of which are expected to take place in Europe.
In April, IBM shocked Wall Street by announcing much lower profits and revenue figures than had been expected – $1.4 billion net on sales of $22.9 billion. The company blamed a slowdown in its services business and the European economy for the shortfall and announced the job cuts soon after.
“Many employees believe that the job cuts are being used to appease Wall Street and boost the company’s stock price, at the expense of workers, our families and our companies,” said Lee Conrad, a spokesperson for Alliance@IBM, a division of the Communications Workers of America.
“Employees are also asking how IBM can fire 13,000 employees while simultaneously buying back $5billion in stock,” he added.
A consortium of industrial bodies, which include Amicus UK and the IBM Europe Works Council has called for full disclosure and transparency of the restructuring plans, cessation of involuntary redundancies and the establishment of re-training programmes for those threatened with job loss.
According to Alliance@IBM, strikes are planned for today throughout Europe. The body asked American workers to show their solidarity through activities such as a ten minute silence break at lunchtime, and wearing black and blue clothes “to signify the pain caused by job cuts.”