IBM layoffs hit Toronto software lab: reports

By Jeff Jedras

Despite releasing stronger than expected earnings on Tuesday and at the time expressing optimism for 2009, it appears a round of job cuts is underway at IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and it looks like Big Blue’s Canadian operations have not been spared.

The week has already seen heavy layoffs in the IT sector, including 5000 at Microsoft and another 5000 to 6000 at Intel. Thus far, while IBM has yet to comment publicly on any layoffs or specific numbers, the Internet is rife with reports from allegedly laid-off IBMers.

According to Alliance@IBM, a Web site created by a local of the Communications Workers of America union, the software group appears to be bearing the brunt of the cuts, with 1,419 cuts reported, along with another 1,499 jobs lost in sales and distribution.

In a message board on the Web site, posts allegedly from laid-off IBM workers indicate a number of the layoffs are occurring at IBM’s software lab in Toronto, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007.

Wrote AnotherOneBitesTheDust:

“I was RA'd on Jan 21, Software Group – Toronto/Markham Lab – DB2…This is after 12+ years, mostly 2, some 2+ and a 1 PBC rating. I got the min of roughly 2 weeks per year, will be having it reviewed by a lawyer for potential top-up, even though yes still going to look internal. I was told by my 1st line: HR ran some equation based on years of service, generated initial list, and upper mgmt pruned/deliberated over the list, with input from 1st lines.”

Wrote MD:

“I got RA'ed yesterday(SWG, Markham) alongwith 2 other colleagues that I know of.”

An anonymous commenter wrote:

“IBM Toronto Lab (under WAS) – Got RA'ed yesterday. 7 years of service (latest hiring was 2 years ago). 30 days to find a job. TOTAL of 2 weeks of seperation pay.”

And another anonymous commenter:

“IBM Canada, (Markham and Toronto), at least 2 that I know, plus myself. Bands 6 and 7. PBC ratings range from 2 to 2+. Headcount was the issue.”

Wrote NotSurprisedInToronto:

“Been with the company for 10 years, moved to a new team early last year. Was ignored by the new team, so had to fend for myself for the most part. PBC rating was a 3, and got the axe today. SWG Toronto Lab.”

Wrote JustGotCut:

“Yes, it is happening in Toronto Lab. Worked in the lab for 17 years and my service is no longer needed.”

Wrote TorontoLab:

“SWG-Rational, development, 8 years of service, 2-rating, given 30 days to find a job… with 2 young kids”

As yet, IBM Canada has yet to respond to a request for comment and further information on these reports. I’ll update with their response and any other information as available. (UPDATED BELOW)

If you have any information to share or have been impacted by these cuts yourself, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to Confidentiality will be respected.

UPDATE: IBM Canada spokesperson Mike Boden has just confirmed in a conversation with CDN that a round of layoffs is underway at IBM, including at IBM Canada. According to Boden, no exact numbers on the scope of the cuts are being released at this time.

“We’re not releasing numbers by site,” said Boden. “There’s no single area being targeted. As part of ongoing business operations at IBM we’re trying to manage the resources and skills we have so we’re ready and able to meet current and future client needs.”

Boden said they anticipate some of the impacted employees will be able to find other positions within the company, adding IBM Canada is working with them to look for other internal opportunities.

“The (recent financial results) were good, but this is just part of IBM’s continuing efforts to manage the resources we have and ensure the resources we have are aligned to client needs now and in the future,” said Boden.

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