IBM workers’ day of action off to a slow start

A worldwide day of action by IBM Corp. workers and unions in protest over the company’s planned job cuts got off to a slow start with no reported action at company facilities in various parts of the world as of late Monday morning.

“We haven’t heard of anything happening,” said Amanda Garland, a Sydney-based spokeswoman for IBM Asia-Pacific. IBM’s Japanese subsidiary also said it had received no reports of action by late morning, local time.

Unions representing IBM workers and workers themselves in several countries around the world planned a variety of actions on Monday. They were protesting a restructuring plan that is expected to see between 10,000 and 13,000 of the company’s workers voluntarily or involuntarily lose their jobs. The majority of lay-offs are expected in Europe, IBM said in a statement on May 4.

The action is likely to be largest in France where strikes are planned at several IBM offices throughout the country, according to information from the Alliance@IBM worker’s group. The Endicott, New York-based group is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America and maintains a Web site at

A four-hour strike is planned in Italy and in some other countries, including Japan, Germany and Belgium, where workers will distribute a statement regarding the planned job cuts, said Alliance@IBM.

In the U.S. the protest was to take several forms, according to Alliance@IBM. These were to include wearing black and blue items of clothing “to signify the pain caused by job cuts.” It was also to include a 10-minute “silent break” nationwide from 1 p.m. EDT and calls from IBM retirees and e-mail from spouses of terminated employees to Sam Palmisano, IBM’s chairman and CEO, regarding their concerns and experiences after losing their jobs.

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