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An IBM bitch board has been taken over by grumbling ex-PwC workers who fear another round of layoffs may be announced when Big Blue reports earnings this week.

IBM has already laid off thousands since it completed the acquisition of PwC Consulting, but a number of employees can see the axe coming again. Former PwC staff fear they are first in the firing line.

"I'm hearing tell that there is a round (of layoffs) either here or coming soon," said one disgruntled worker on a Vault.com message board. "People are being tipped off that they're on a bad list in BCS (Business Consulting Services) and scrambling to find new homes in IBM. Any confirmation?"

Another poster supplies a sobering confirmation note.

"Oh no, there's not any truth to the rumors that there will be another round of layoffs. Are there any PwC people left to layoff?"

Little good can come of such speculation. Bitch boards tend to be less reliable than analysts or men gabbing at the airport. This particular message board, however, does leave the lasting impression that PwC employees are not enjoying their time at IBM. Many of the ex-PwC types are pretending to work while they wait for the severance packages to arrive.

"My coworkers here are to ready to go," writes another worker. "We may act like we're busy because we are told to, but I haven't made any contribution for a long, long time.

"I show up to work, play on my computer, talk about how busy I am and cash my paycheck. I am ready to get my severance package, collect a little unemployment and find a new job at a company that cares."

Poor thing.

A sad soul in the Fair Lakes, Virginia office has even seen his coffee rations taken away.

"No more coffee/tea," he writes. "I don't drink either beverage, but this indicates the cheap nature of IBM."

A pair of IBM policies appear to be behind this massive fall in morale. According to the messages, IBM has instituted a "use it or lose it" vacation policy, which has many of the PwC folks concerned. Some people have been saving up their holidays but now have to use all the days before year end.

A more pressing problem stems from an IBM policy that limits pay increases.

"What are the thoughts on the "core cash ranges" memo from Stanger that states that salary ranges were overstated by approx. 25 percent?" asks one poster. "They are just now figuring this mistake out after two months or do you think it's because there so many people below the low end of the ranges that IBM would have had to pay up if they didn't adjust the band downward.

"This company never ceases to amaze me in thinking that they can pass this off as an honest mistake and that we are so stupid as to believe them."

Apparently, IBM planned to bring salaries in-line across the board after acquiring PwC but found the task a tad more daunting thatn first expected. Workers who have fallen out of the increase "band" because of an "administrative glitch" at IBM will no longer receive a pay hike.

IBM's services business performed well in the first fiscal quarter, but it will be interesting to see how much these disgruntled workers have contributed to the bottom line when Q2 results arrive later this week. ®

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