ADOTAS — You wonder who leads IBM‘s communications department and public relations, because either they are completely inept or their top executives won’t listen.
I assume it’s the latter because no one could think that dragging out bad news is a good idea. I’ve been noting the constant drumbeat of layoffs happening within the company, though it posted decent numbers. Last week, the company reported net income of $4.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008, a 12% increase year over year.
But the web has been rife with allegations of layoffs over the past few months. At one site, Alliance@IBM, which is run by the Alliance@IBM/Communications Workers of America Local 1701, a union that is trying to organize IBM workers, commentors talked about restructuring, buyouts and layoffs.
One commentor here said that IBM laid off 1,549 people in the sales and distribution division alone. The company kept refusing to comment. There is nothing worse for employees than to hear layoffs are happening, but not knowing officially what is actually happening. The void created by the silence will be filled with innuendo and speculation.
Now the WSJ reports that IBM sent layoff notices to more than 2,800 people in its sales and software groups in the U.S. In an “Employee Information Package,” IBM listed workers “selected to participate” in its “current resource reduction action” by age and job title, but without names. One large category, software engineers, suffered layoffs of 839 out of 9,784, or about 8.6%.
According to the WSJ, the laid-off workers are entitled to a maximum of 26 weeks severance pay, will get health-insurance coverage and life insurance for three months to 12 months, depending on seniority, and providing financial planning, career counseling and up to $2,500 for retraining.
*But for all those left? Bonuses! According to CEO Sam Palmisano:
“I am pleased to announce that we will not only be paying bonuses to IBMers worldwide, based on individual performance, but that they’ll be funded from a pool of money nearly the same size as last year’s. That’s significant in this economy — and especially so, given the size of the 2007 pool. Further, our salary increase plan will continue, covering about 60 percent of our workforce. As always, increases will go to our highest performers and contributors. We should all feel good about the company’s ability to invest in people in these very concrete ways.”
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