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IBM axes nearly THREE THOUSAND staffers in North America - union

Big numbers laid off by Big Blue in US, Canada

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IBM has axed nearly three thousand workers in Canada and the US, according to employee union Alliance@IBM, as its cost-cutting drive begins to bite.

Big Blue has been laying off swathes of staff worldwide in the last few years as it attempts to drastically reduce its outgoings, periodically announcing "workforce rebalancing", "resource action", "consultation process" and other layoff euphemisms in the UK and across the pond.

Last month, The Reg discovered that the firm had started one of those consultation processes for its UK and Ireland operations and planned to let up to 270 people go.

IBM warned investors and employees in its first quarter conference call that a "workforce rebalancing" was scheduled for Q2, with $1bn set aside for redundancy payouts and charges.

Alliance@IBM has said on its site that 2,930 employees in North America have been laid off, with the largest number apparently going from the Software Group, although IBM would not confirm this. The union said that its job cuts report section is rife with complaints from staff who were angry that IBM execs hadn't sent out "messages of regret or explanation to workers terminated in their divisions".

"Where are all those executives that celebrate our product releases? Now when the situation is less convenient they run away and hide. No comments, no statements. No communication with the infantry," the union quoted one worker as saying.

Another bitterly commented: "Enough low level folks left to remove the collateral damage where as Queen Ginny and Grandpa Sam are in their palace and eat caviar for $10m each day. IBM promoted great leadership in the last decades. The senior leadership team obviously did not attend these leadership classes. Instead they attended the class 'how to become a perfect coward'."

The billion-dollar redundancy pot could be enough to fund the exit of 6,000 to 8,000 employees. IBM CFO Mark Loughridge said earlier that the bulk of the money would be allocated in the second quarter, which finishes at the end of this month. ®

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