IBM opens emergency escape hatch to TSS volunteers

Free at last, free at last, thank Ginny Rommety...

IBM is seeking volunteers in Technology Support Services (TSS) to throw themselves down the redundancy chute by the end of the year.

As revealed by The Reg last week, Big Blue’s UK top brass told staff to form a body of employees for both TSS and IS Delivery to represent the workforce as the latest round of layoffs take shape.

Andy Roberts, TSS exec in the UK and Ireland Global Technology Services division yesterday wrote a memo to his team that confirmed first meeting of the Employee Consultation Committee.

“We are now launching an Open Voluntary Separation Programme. The programme is open to all in-scope UK IBM regular employees working in the Technology Support Services business area in the UK,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for each of you to evaluate whether you wish to make a proactive decision to leave IBM at this time. If we do not receive enough volunteers that we can accept in this phase of the programme, we will move to an involuntary separation phase,” Roberts added.

Last week’s memo warned people working on both TSS and IS Delivery they will enter a 45-day consultation process from 6 December, meaning that at least 100 IBMers will become ex-IBMers when the period ends.

There seems little financial incentive for staff to actually put up their hand to leave of their own will, because “volunteers, if accepted, will receive a payment equivalent to statutory redundancy terms”.

Anyone who decides they’ve had enough of life at IBM must submit an “Expression of Interest” by 15 December. It is then expected, as communicated last week, that they’ll leave by 31 December.

Some 22 quarters have now passed since IBM last reported sales growth, and though it remained profitable during that period, those profits have shrunk. IBM, like DXC, is trying to cut costs faster than revenues run off.

Part of expunging expenses is through reducing headcount in higher wage locations and shipping those roles off to areas including Eastern Europe and India.

As El Reg previously and exclusively revealed, IBM wants eight in 10 of its Global Tech Services personnel to be based in places where it will pay lower staff costs.

IBM has now cobbled together the Global Technology Services division with its Cloud Platforms business, and in calendar Q3 ended 30 September the unit declined two per cent to $4.1bn. For the first nine months of 2017, sales dropped to $25.07bn versus $26.02bn in the prior year.

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