IBM Australia mulls 800 job cuts

By Liz Tay on Mar 1, 2010 11:01 AM
Filed under Hardware

All but government business could go offshore.

More than 800 local jobs could be cut as IBM Australia considers moving its business offshore.

According to the Australian Services Union (ASU), workers have been told that IBM may service all its customers besides the Federal Government from "low cost centres" in India and China.

Managers were informed on Wednesday that the job cuts would occur in the coming months, a source told iTnews.

And while workers were not told which jobs would be affected, they were advised to "read between the lines" and prepare their CVs.

IBM spokesman Matt Mollett told iTnews that any restructure was in line with the company's aim to "rebalance skills" to meet business demands.

"IBM continuously transforms its business, rebalancing skills and capabilities in order to meet the changing needs of clients and our business as a whole," he said.

Mollett said that the company would "continue to hire in 2010, and ... end the year with more employees than when the year began".

Big Blue's web site advertised 4,872 job vacancies at the time of publishing. However, only 79 of the advertised positions were in Australia.

Meanwhile, the company sought to hire 665 people in China and 601 in India.

Mollett declined to comment on the vacancies in relation to the rumoured job cuts.

According to Sally McManus, NSW and ACT Branch Secretary of the ASU, IBM has refused to meet with the union to discuss the issue.

The ASU planned to take action in the workplace relations tribunal Fair Work Australia to ensure that workers would be represented by a union in negotiations, she said.

"Workers wish to bargain for issues such as a fair process should there be redundancies," McManus told iTnews.

"ASU members also feel very strongly that if such highly skilled jobs are lost overseas, those workers affected should get extra redundancy payments as it is not just their job that is being lost, but a job forever in Australia for their children."

McManus added that offshoring may increase the risk of data theft, which could be an issue for some of IBM's customers like financial firms that do credit checks.

She said there were also suggestions that some of the work could be sent to Ballarat, Victoria, instead of IBM's current headquarters in the Sydney suburb of St Leonards.

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