back to article IBM hits back against over-timers with pay cut

IBM's technical support grunts may have won the battle for overtime pay, but the company has cooked a major catch to its peace agreement. Big Blue is now conceding that about 7,600 IT specialists and tech support workers (about 6 per cent of its US workforce) need to be reclassified as being eligible for overtime wages. But …

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  1. Shabble
    Pirate

    Theiving b*st*rds!

    So, after years of getting over half a day a week cheap labour from each of their staff, IBM not only fail to admit they have done anything wrong, but, to add insult to injury, they punish their staff for being in the right!

    I bet they wish they could make IBM company sites enclaves of China so they could apply some more 'business friendly' employment practices. That way they could get rid of all those pesky H&S rules, maximum working hours regs, pension obligations etc.

    Every Western company is only one political revolution away from using slave labour.

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Stop

    Just stupid, but not just IBM!

    Well, after the next IBM payday, I expect the phone lines to the IT agencies will be white-hot with irate IBMers looking to jump ship, and I expect there will be plenty of stupid IBM managers just happy to let them go. When will IT companies realise that cutting skilled workers in the "home" countries for "low-cost centers such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India and Russia" may make the cost of support cheaper up front, but you end up losing a large chunk of skilled staff that are very hard to replace, and you annoy your customers because speaking to a tech guy/girl in Argentina/Brazil/China/India/Russia just is not the same experience as talking to a local. The customer perceives it as a drop in the quality of support, even if they get call resolution in the same amount of time (and that is very unlikely). And it cuts both ways - I have provided 24 x 7 support to foreign countries from the UK, and it is very hard for your customer when you don't speak their language the same way they do, use the same slang, or the same tech terminology, even if you're a guru at the tech. And if you're not a guru, but your second cousin knew someone in HR and they got you a job in the nice new outsourced support center in Cheaplandia, your customers will feel they are being short changed and will soon start asking where the old tech guys they used to talk to went.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    WTF????

    "you add the overtime to it, they would be paid an excess of competitive rates."?????

    That's the whole point of OT! You're base salary is set at the going rate (hopefully!!) and if you work extra you get paid extra. It's an incentive to compensate employees for giving up their free time. IBM are endorsing a position where working late is a) free extra billable hours for them and b) expected of their employees. Cutting base pay is their way of keeping these free billable hours while paying lip-service to overtime laws.

  4. Herby

    Be careful what you ask for

    You may get it. In this case the workers got overtime. Then the pay cut. They should have kept their mouths shut.

    As was said "Saps!".

    This is also called the law of unintended consequences.

  5. Steve Roper
    Flame

    Corporate greed at its finest

    So IBM makes $10.4bn in a year but twists, turns and weasels its way out of paying what probably amounts to a few million to the people who make their company work. While the fat rich bastards who do no work and own all the IP sock away billions for their yachts and mansions and private jets. *Cutting* wages in the face of inflation is nothing short of absolutely disgusting: get as much as you can while giving as little as possible. Ah, the wonders of capitalism, eh?

    Well, as IT manager for our company, I will be making damn sure no IBM equipment or technology will be used in our server upgrades later this year. When will these idiots learn that the most effective method of management is to treat your staff honestly and fairly? If you let them benefit, even just a small amount, from your company's prosperity their morale goes sky high and productivity follows it through the roof. But the fat cats are so blinded by their own greed, and fear that Johnny Public might be able to afford a semi-decent lifestyle, that they can't even comprehend this simple fact.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Simple solution

    If your company isnt paying your overtime, dont work it! When the jobs arent being done and they demand you work overtime, demand you get paid for it. If they wont pay, work doesnt get done. Eventually they'll start paying...

    I find it hard to believe that it would be legal for IBM to do this, but then this is taking place over the pond there in the "good ol' US of A".

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Austin Modine you are an idiot

    First of all not everyone affected by this reclassification was involved with the lawsuit. Many people now affected had nothing to do with and did not collect a penny. It also affected more than just system administrators and technicians. It also affected technical architects, designers, security compliance, IT auditors, etc.

    Secondly if 32,000 people signed up and were paid why are only 7,600 jobs being reclassified? Discrimination? Are the executives afraid to to piss off too much of their staff at once? Do I hear another lawsuit coming?

    Third point - nobody factored vacation time into the overtime calculation. All vacation will be taken at reduced pay.

    Fourth point - This article did not mention that they also plan on removing two higher levels of technical employees they now classified as non-exempt. The higher level called band 8s will get automatic demotions in one year to band 7s. As band 7's leave they can only be replaced with band 6s. Those demoted will probably never see a raise again since they will be at the top of the band 7 salary range. Now how is that cost-neutral?

  8. Paul Murray
    Flame

    Amen, lglethal

    Ditto. DON'T WORK FOR FREE. It's that simple. One of the nice things about being a contractor is precisely that no-one asks you to work for free. As to those silly enough to take a permanent posistion with a pay rate for a 37.5 hr week who discover that 8 and 9 hour days are expected of them - down tools.

    This industry badly needs a union - particularly to protect the young-uns from these kind of abuses, because young-uns often are willing to work excess hours for free out of sheer enthusiasm. Same goes for a few other industries where people are often willing to work for the love of the job.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Executive HR Hacks

    Stupid executive hack tricks by HR. Certain companies seem to be getting famous for these.

    All they need to do is lower the mystery method of calculating what a fair industry average wage is for this group of people-- this is the first half of lowering the wage (the new method of being paid makes it difficult to get more than industry average unless you can leap tall mountains of customer queues in a single bound). Sure, for 4 or 5 years a little more has to be paid out (but not too much, since now these people would be expected to do what they did before, but in 40hr, and if they didn't, well, no pay raise because of low ratings, never mind the change in basis). This is how inflation will do the dirty work for you-- just ask the Euro emps.

    But instead, HR makes a political show, alienating workers and potentially lowering quality. It makes no sense unless some executive hack got a wedgie from losing and is upset. Save a lot more money to ditch the hacks and hire competent persons (oh, right, this is HR with the hacks...).

  10. combatwombat
    Paris Hilton

    dirty buggers

    Come on, IBM. Who do ya think makes the recommendations to use your services and products? The very people you are doing the dirty to- those who know tech and love it, not those who know how to push people around and love it.

    Paris, cos' you screwed those poor sods. But you will get your reward in the end.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Cheap way of reducing staff

    Look at it this way - IBM don't give a damn about people, just numbers for the analysts.

    So this way they get to

    1 Shut the unions and whingers up

    2 Get a whole load of people to leave without the redundancy costs involved

    3 Bullshit everyone that it's cost neutral, but in fact it SAVES money

    So the overpaid bean counters are happy...

    But as was said above, the customers won't be - so here's to yet another case of a big corporate shooting themselves in the foot.

    Whichever union(s) agreed to this deal will have a lot of explaining to do to their members (soon to be ex).

    Yet again IBM proves the acronym "I've Been Mugged"

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. David Perry
    Coat

    Maths!

    Just a note that if the reduction in pay is 15% and the normal working hours is 40, the number of hours required to make up the difference is actually 7 ( 40 / 0.85 - 40 )

  14. Steve
    Jobs Horns

    Couldn't happen in the UK though....

    could it?

    A unilateral pay cut would be illegal without new contracts and you can't be forced to sign a new contract.

    Of course the alternative would be redundancy, but that's much harder in the UK than in the US and also costs the company $$$...

    I get the impression that working unpaid overtime (or at least lots of overtime) is the norm in the US, it's not so much (in my experience) over here. As someone said, if you're asked to work overtime, make sure that you're paid, at least you can do that here in the UK.

  15. Hans Mustermann

    Re: Executive HR Hacks

    Actually, I would guess the whole point was to make a show. They want to hammer into everyone's heads that an average IT wage includes as much overtime as the PHB wants to lump upon you, hence the real hourly wage is rightfully lower. And if you dare ask to be paid for that overtime, they'll cut your wage.

    Especially the last one is a precedent I can see them wanting to set. Sure, you can let inflation do the work for you, but then eventually they come demanding a competitive pay again _and_ to be paid for overtime. Once you set the precedent that they have to do at least 15% overtime for competitive pay, that'll be factored in future negotiations too.

    I don't know what's with the US business culture, really... Everything I hear from that side of the pond is like... dunno, I can only call it a cult of the sociopaths.

    Ah well... I guess it's a good reminder to thank the elder gods that I'm not there.

    Still, on the plus side, at least now they've made it clear what their real hourly wage is. If more people can be forced to do the same, it will eliminate a lot of the uncertainty about exactly how many hours per week should you divide that wage by. A lot of places which treat their employees better might start looking more attractive as a result.

  16. Eugene Goodrich

    The market will solve this

    It sounds to me like the courts have provided remedy for the past injustice, and the future "injustice" (to use a term at worst I think other readers will bear with for just a moment) will be sorted out by the labor market for these tech support people.

    If IBM feels they are overpaying their tech support folk, they can cut their wages. Then they can see whether the new lower price will get them the quantity and quality of tech support work they want.

    The other labor buyers in the market will absorb some of the workers who don't care for the new IBM pay scale. Most of us can just sit back and sip some lager while we watch to see how much "some of the workers" turns out to be. That will be an objective commentary on IBM's claim about compensation relative to market rates, and it might be entertaining to see IBM later react to what they have wrought.

  17. Andy Worth

    Themselves to blame?

    I'm not condoning what IBM have done, as I think it's underhand and petty, and I believe in the UK there are laws to prevent a company from pulling a stunt like this - at least for existing employees (although I'm not 100% so don't flame if I'm wrong). However, to some point the employees involved have brought this upon themselves.

    They have got the company used to getting the extra time from them for free and then decided that they should be getting overtime, and wanted it backpaid. Of course the company are now a bit miffed, as it will cost them more - and the extra working time until a couple of years ago was just accepted as a part of the job. I suspect it was a small minority of staff who actually made the waves as such, with a lot more being dragged along in the swell (the prospect of more money). Unfortunately it has completely backfired.

    The only real way of comparing a salary to the market is to look at other companies in the same region offering the same sorts of job, then take into account experience and years of service. I'd put money on no such effort being made by the HR people with their magic "industry standard" figures.

    In the current economic environment, with prices of everything on the rise, it's going to be a real struggle for people with cut salaries.

  18. steve
    Thumb Down

    "Couldn't happen in the Uk though"

    Oh yes it could. They can change your contract with 4 weeks notice. This means you don't have to sign a new contract, they can just change it and you don't have to sign a thing for it to take affect. Good ol' blighty.

  19. Bill Fresher

    @David Perry

    Don't people usually get paid a higher rate for overtime?

  20. Working Grunt

    Re: Could'nt Happen in the UK

    Not quite, but Big Blue imports most of it's HR practices into the UK. Chief of these is the 40 hour working week, whilst paying only for 37. Oh, and the idea that travelling to your client and back should be on your time, not theirs. Not to mention the idea that our revered leader, Larry Hurst, thinks that weasely words of thanks and encouragement will make up for the yearly pay cuts.

    I believe IBM will soon reap what they are sewing, with the top talent leaving for competition, and those left behind so demoralised that they will do the bare minimum to get through the working week.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    UK practice...

    As far as I remember, the UK working arrangements (adjusted as and when by 'business conduct guidelines' changes) say words to the effect that you're expected to be flexible, do a little more than the solid hours, when required. So working to 37 or 40 hours is not necessarily a given.

    Of course the 'performance culture' schtick means if you refuse to work extra or don't push yourself, you ain't gonna get a 1 or a 2+ appraisal rating - and without those, there's no pay rise (even for inflation) and no bonus.

    I blame the public sector moaners who have been TUPEd in from a non commercial environment. Oh and some guy called Sam who has been hollowing out the corporation for a while now.

  22. scott
    Flame

    plus ca change

    Very interesting. As an ex-IBM drone, that’s very interesting what “Posted Thursday 24th January 2008 00:59 GMT” said about re-banding downwards. Talk about de-motivating people! IBM *used* to be a great employer, then became just a slightly above average employer – and turned into a bad employer cynically trading off it’s previously good name. I missed the golden days but joined whilst it was still a good employer and it was sad to be there as it turned to merde.

    The lie was IBM “paid above market levels”. This was only true if you took bonuses and OT into consideration, not the base package.

    To answer Steve “Couldn't happen in the UK though....”. I honestly hope you’re being sarcastic.

    IBM in the UK never had a union, and effectively banned them. The VPs were quite proud of the fact their workforce had about the lowest union representation levels in the UK.

    I wish there was a website which concisely and honestly described an insider’s story of IBM Greenock. That’s why they could go from around 7500 down to a few hundred employees in less than 5 years in GNK. I, like the majority of my professional colleagues, worked free overtime as matter of course. Quite often I’d be doing a 55 hour week during weekdays – and “thinkpadding” at the weekend. At one point OT was paid based on 50% (max) of hours worked, and at normal hourly rates. Bonuses were based on “performance”…read slaving yer guts out. OT and bonuses disappeared, and along with it about 20-25% of my monthly income. Looming bankruptcy forced me into contracting – where I’ve been happily since. That wasn’t an option for everyone – so those who had no choice but to remain worked even more hours, giving up a lot of family life etc just to try and keep their jobs. I know of numerous breakups and divorces due to overworking (mine included).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Regarding overtime in the UK

    Having worked as an IT helpdesk and support for a few years, I have noticed that a few companies actually have a clause in their contract that states that you will only be paid overtime if you work about 48 hours a week. They expect you to work 48 hours a week and then if you go over that, then you get overtime pay. They expect people to work stupid o'clock all the time. This is why I moved away from helpdesk work. I wanted to be with my family and thus working stupid hours was becoming too much for family life.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Competitive Rate - What nonsense!

    "Up until now, these people have been paid a competitive rate based on their skills...."

    What bullshit. Any time a company says it pays "competitive" salaries, the employee must keep firmly in mind the fact that the company is competing /against,/ not /for,/ the employee.

  25. Dan
    Unhappy

    ILC

    IBM employees have to religiously complete ILC (Intranet Labour Claim) every week filling out their hours worked, which ensures that the customer is charged for the overtime. Given that, when I worked for them, I used to be charged out at 8 times my wage, there is _NO_ reason that OT cannot be paid on top of the standard salary.

    Oh, to give you an idea of how much the beancounters run the place, if you fail to log your hours for each week by about the following Tuesday, you're in trouble. Do that more than something like 3 times in a year, and you can forget any bonus or pay rise, because you are not eligible to score more than a 2 at review time. Forget whether you are any good at your job.

  26. Johnny FireBlade
    Stop

    Absolutely shocking

    Well, I know I for one will never work for IBM and I'll never use their systems/services either now I know how they treat their staff. It's absolutely shocking that a blue chip company displays that kind of behaviour. Sure, they were computing pioneers and presumably, that reputation is what drives people to work for them, but that behaviour is disgraceful, devious and underhanded. What a bunch of genuinely evil people.

  27. Sean Aaron

    re: Regarding Overtime in the UK

    The reason you wouldn't get OT until you go over 48hrs is because that's the statuatory OT limit. Unless you fit the bill for exemption from the Working Time Directive (or opted out for some reason), you can refuse to work more than 48hrs/week.

    I've only encountered one company since moving here (Glasgow) that didn't pay OT for more than the normal work week, and guess what, they were an American company that figured US rules should apply everywhere. They didn't seem to get that, in Scotland especially, people don't like giving their entire personal lives to the company. As a result when time came up for OT, people like me who are at a point in their careers where they're not willing to give it away anymore would have other arrangements that prevented them from doing it.

    Ah, the joys of hearing executives screaming in impotence from New York...

  28. David Perry
    Unhappy

    Respone to Bill Fresher

    I didn't see any mention that there was greater pay for OT, but 5 to 6 hours does make more sense if it's 1/4 or 1/3 extra.

    Until recently, my OT was at standard rate, including weekends! Now I don't get paid for OT at all......

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Dan re: ILC

    Thankfully since leaving IBM (redundancy; bit theirs hands off to take it) I no longer have to endure the weekly work of fiction that is ILC.

    TUPE'd into IBM, working for the same people, in the same office. Being told to CLAIM for every bit of work I did, even over 37 hours contracted, but don't bother asking for overtime, unless it is approved from the highest ranks within IBM UK. I never claimed more than 37 hours, unless I was getting paid for it, generally out of principle. Obviously my hourly rate was 10x less than the customer was being charged.

    Nobody I knew ever got more than a 2 rating at appraisal time. Not because they were slackers, far from it, but because of the quotas and the mystical 'people in my team who truely deserve the payrise' your manager would enthuse about. 4 years and not even an inflationary payrise. Lots of praise and encouragement, but never backed up by anything solid.

    One thing that amazed me a few years ago was that IBM missed their profit target by $100m, or thereabouts. About 12,000 people around the world were made redundant. But they actually made a profit of $19.9b, against a forecast of $20b. That's surely within the realms of margin of error territory.

    I keep my fingers crossed that I never get TUPE'd into IBM again. I hope that the outsourcing bubble has burst as companies realise that it is neither cheaper or more efficient.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laughable

    What I find "surprising" in this whole situation is the number of forum posts that are disgusted of IBM actions and will never use IBM equipment,

    With recent developments in chip design and still the number 3, 2 and 1 places occupied by IBM equipment in the Virtual Server and mid range markets thats a really

    commendable thing to say but if IBM equipment is twice as fast and twice as cheap as the nearest competitor then if you were the IT decision maker in your company I am sure that you would be having a second look at their equipment. (maybe not their services)

    OK now for the real subject of the forum, perhaps it is obvious by now that IBM globally are always on the look out for ways to not only protect the cash cow by local law exploitation but also searching for ways of screwing everyone else in the process,

    Do they care wether the paying customer for platinum technical support is getting it from a person in New York or in India ? Of course not and neither do most of the Blue Chip companies that have their support in Bangalore.

    Do they care if there workers are un-happy because of salary gripes or working conditions, ILC or PBCs ? Once again no if the workers are providing maximum output with minimum input then better for the cash cow and investors and a bigger payout for Sam and the boys when it comes to that early retirement bundle.

    If you dont like the heat get out of the kitchen

  31. Nicholas Wright
    IT Angle

    In the UK

    Nope - in the UK you must still agree to a change of contract before it can take effect. In that time you can decide whether to sign the contract, or leave.

    However, there is something called constructive dismissal - where work situation changes to the effect that you are unable to continue working there. I wonder if that might apply. A sizeable pay cut would seem to fit the bill.

  32. robert beatty

    One more final point....

    To everyone who says as above "if you don't like it, leave."

    Well, to be honest IBMers are utterly and completely devoted to IBM.

    I love my company and what it has managed to do over the last hundred years. I get to play with the best hardware in the business. Huuuuge machines and environments that I simply can't see anywhere else. I work with nothing but brilliant and dedicated people who are my family and I have the ability to shape the present and future inside and out of IBM.

    I and my peers BELIEVE in IBM, and want to make it better, not just get a paycheck. It is OUR company despite the mismanagement. We'll be back when Sam is done.

    IBM is dead, long live IBM.

  33. Curtis W. Rendon
    Flame

    Mandantoy overtime

    with a pay cut! W00t!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBMer insight

    In fine AA form, "Hi, my name is XXX and I am a current IBM-aholic".

    As an aside, this is nowhere near the first time that IBM has done this recategorization; I can think of three other instances in the last 5 years just off the top of my head.

    The funny thing about this comes down to the overtime required to make up the difference. As someone pointed out above, the difference comes down to seven hours. As an exempt employee, one is required to put in 5% mandatory overtime to meet individual utilization targets. This works out to 8hrs that IBMers are required to do above and beyond their normal 40. Theoretically one would be required to work one less hour to achieve the same pay.

    BUT with this 15% paycut and reclassification came an edict that no more overtime would be granted. Again- as someone above said, it takes approval up to VP level at this point to get overtime. Reclassified staff will be unable to get those needed 7hrs, and the work done in those now missing 8hrs of mandatory overtime falls to the members of the department who are still exempt. More work from fewer people, while paying the rest 15% less. Brilliant.

    As another someone else pointed out, this reclassification/paycut only affected (theoretically) about 7,000 people. The reclassification did not affect entire departments or job categories, rather a PERCENTAGE of people in the given job category in a given dept. This would seem to be a way of cutting wages X percent in a given department without crippling already taxed staff. Again, brilliant.

    A good number of these reclassifications came with a 'debanding' or change in job category to a lower family. This does three things- makes it harder to promote those people (then have to jump a few categories) and pay increases (fictional in any case) are even harder to obtain (more people in a given category). Aaaaand thirdly, it makes those people more likely to leave of their own accord in either the near (outrage) or mid (poor advancement opportunities) term.

    IBM IS trying to force its US to other countries. This is not speculation. This is truth.

    Unions? The IBM Alliance can't get anyone to join- its not even a union in the sense that it is officially recognized by IBM or the employees- nor gain any ground with influencing IBM policy. Frankly, IBM employees dont want a union and fundamentally side with IBM, regardless of how clear the writing on the wall. I can't even bring myself to hand out flyers at the gates anymore. Too much rejection from my peers.

    Penultimate point: I am sure a good number of you have read the series of Cringley articles, and are familiar with the argument over the actual number of US layoffs. The number is accurate. Period. When you factor in contractor labor- which amounts to at least 60% of AFFECTED SUPPORT TEAMS. Yes, there is a smaller number of 'IBMers' in the US than mentioned, but at least 50% of IBM workers are contract employees and are not represented in any layoff/staff numbers! Ever! Contractors are laid off and receive paycuts in waves and are NEVER reported. Besides, what difference does it make if it is 50,000 jobs, and not 100,000?

    Final Point: You say these affected people must be less skilled/talented/valuable workers- dead wood. Since 2000 IBM has been bleeding out people, and trust me, the chaff was long gone years ago. One of the people affected by the restructuring recieved the highest performance rating THREE WEEKS AGO, and less than two months ago worked so many hours straight (90+ in a week) that he fell asleep driving home and totalled his car. Then was apologetic about his concussion, broken bones, and hospital visit interfering with his work....6hrs after the crash and three hours after getting out of the hospital. Another colleague responded to a page while being prepped for surgery....and stayed on the phone as they wheeled him into OR. A gal reponding to pages three days after giving birth...In my own case, I had a an epileptic seizure onsite, was taken to the hospital, released, and was catching up on email a few hours later.

    So I, like my team will go elsewhere, be paid more, work less, and ultimately be happier. Unfortunately, it will take us all time to get past 'bleeding blue' and rejoining the rest of humanity. I doubt however that I will ever find a work environment more interesting, or ever be as commited to another company....Its really too bad.

    Final word of warning: What happens at IBM trickles down to the rest of the world. IBM has a large part in determining 'market value', and prevailing working conditions industry wide. Be vigilant in your own corners of the IT universe....

  35. P.

    Take it or leave it!

    At the end of the day, if the workers are not happy with IBM and believe that the pay+benefits+intangibles are not competitive then they would leave.

    It's everyone for themselves. IBM is for IBM and workers are for themselves.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Attrition up, morale down.

    In my part of the UK services business, attrition was less than 5%...but thanks to some nasty policies its nearer 20%. This approach clearly works.

    I thought cutting the standby call-out rate to 2 pounds/hr (before tax) was a clear enough sign, but some people aren't taking the hint.

    To be honest, most project and first line managers can't bring themselves to flog the boat crews any more - you can't ask for 90 hour weeks when morale is so poor. But the orders come down from on high, and eventually its either your job or theirs.

    We get told how great we are, but its like the polar bear joke (baby bear asks his parents whether he is a polar bear...). i.e. We work our socks off, we're the best in the world, etc etc - well if we are, why do you treat us like sh*t?

  37. kain preacher

    some thing that needs to be said

    The issue is not weather or not they wanted to work OT for free, but to get the job reclassifed so that they could get OT.

    Some thing that you folks across the pond don't know. Alot of IT jobs in the states are in a classification that makes them exempt from paying OT. You get some crap called flex time . that means if you work four ours of OT you dont have to show up for four hours. Of course you don't get paid for those four hours you don't show up.

  38. kain preacher

    employment at will

    oh yeah in the states its employment at will. they can fire you at any time for any reason as long as its not for race, creed ,religion , or age

  39. Ed
    Thumb Down

    We're an IBM customer (well, partner now actually)...

    ...and I'm sorry to hear that you folks are getting screwed. If I thought it'd make any difference, I'd complain to our IBM reps. :)

  40. richard zidnic

    WOW, amazing, and I thought I was alone

    As a current IBM employee, I must say this is a happy yet very sad moment, to see that I am not alone with all these issues. IBM loves to play the numbers game, change the way they calculate or payout performance pay bonuses, on top of all mentioned, which is a yearly performance payout which depends on your pbc rating, which again is all based on some numbers and a specific formula, which they change constantly so nobody can quit figure it out, which is then left up to the managers discretion to distribute to his employees as he deems. So , simply put, no matter what, your bonus is going to be what they want it to be. Secondly, in my dept we do get payed ot, but we are expected to be available any and all the time at the drop of a dime, no respect for personal lives at all. The guys in my dept average somewhere in the 250 to 300 hrs ot a year, the worst part being these are not planned or scheduled ot hours, we carry pagers and are paged at all times of night and weekends and are expected to be available. And if you are not a few times a year, bam there goes your rating you are not being a team member. At what point do we the employees stop bending over backwards for companies that just will not hire extra staff but would rather force employees to work crazy amount of ot. They tell you that you have the right to refuse, but if you do you are rating goes sliding. So it seems there is no way to win. All I could hope for is that they would realize that we are unhappy and there for not as productive, you cannot expect people to always be available to work , and some many hours.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    *sigh*

    I'm not surprised. The way IBM deals with its workforce has going down the tubes since the mighty LVG came in and "rescued" the company.

    I too have watched IBM in Greenock go from 5,000 to a handful (and those mostly agency staff on just-over minimum wage) since 2000. And you know what, hardly any of those people were laid off by IBM. No, they are way cleverer than that. You just sell part of the business to some dodgy outfit from overseas and they will lay off the staff as soon as legally possible.

    For a company that alledgedly never laid anyone off during the Great Depression, IBM has sunk deep... very deep. And I'm glad I'm out of there.

    (PH icon because she has more intelligence and compassion than IBM.)

  42. Rob
    Thumb Down

    Petition Against IBM Pay Cuts - IBMers Fight Back

    To Fellow IBMers:

    There is an IBM Employees Union, called Alliance at IBM at www.allianceibm.org. A petition has been started that is gathering signatures that will support an action case against IBM for instituting these pay cuts. The link is below:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?ibm1701&1

    For those capped at 40hr (which AP Reporter Brian Bergstein reports is true of 30% of the affected employees), this will be a 15% pay cut likely bringing your pay down about $10K or so. For those capped around the 43 hour average workweek most IBM consultants like myself work, this will be about a 6% pay cut when you factor in less bonus money and 401K and the fact that for the 5.4 weeks you log vacation/holiday leave, you will be making 85% of your previous salary.

    For those working in excess of 46 hours (which is approximately the breakeven point for total compensation to be equal), your chance for overtime will likely diminish and so will your overall pay as more managers look after their own financials rather than their employees compensation.

    The bottom line is that we signed a contract, but apparently there is nothing stopping corporate from breaching this contract since our union does not have the support that it needs. Please add your support even if you are not one of the reported 7,600 IT Specialists (bands 6-8) that are affected. Also, please pass this on to your friends and fellow colleagues.

  43. Scott

    Aesop had a fable or three regarding greed...

    IBM has traditionally been a respectable employer, resisting layoffs and treating their workers well enough that most wouldn't even consider unionizing. The average wages mentioned sound far above entry-level support, even in the Boulder area where a lot of their support staff are located. These people are professionals who are generally considered to be full-time exempt, not hourly-wage grunts. Usually, the employer will take the demands they're making on the employee into consideration, and it sure sounds like IBM is doing that. FTE employment status is basically the employer paying the employee a fixed salary for the year for getting the job done, even if it takes extra long during peak times, or they don't stay too busy another time of the year and can coast.

    And the complaint on flex time being unpaid...come on! Seems like my fellow Americans always want something for nothing. You work four hours extra one day, you get four hours off another. Or if you need to take a few hours off to take in a ballgame, you can do so if things are slow...and make up your hours later. Or would it be reasonable to say if an employee wanted to take time like that under flex, that they would have to reimburse their employer with 6 hours worked?

    I think these employees were just being greedy. The nature of salaried positions is that surges in workload happen, that's why they're paid whether they're working overtime or sitting around doing nothing. Serves them right for trying to grub more money, by all means, if they think they're worth the crazy wages they were trying to claim as OT, they're welcome to hit the pavement around the Denver area. Oh, that's right...we're in the middle of a tech recession here. They'd be lucky to find a job paying entry-level wages regardless of how high their experience level is. I'll wish them good luck with that! Yes, these dogs lunged for the bone they saw reflected in the river and lost a relatively sweet deal they had already.

  44. Rob
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    Go ahead with your Aesop fable BS Scott

    Scott,

    You don't realize that the people getting their pay cut are by no means entry-level support. I am one of those affected. I work as an information security analyst (MS, BS, BBA, and CISSP to my credit) and not one bit of my job is repetitive or something that can be outsourced to India. IBM charges the customer $110/hr for my time and pays me $69K (~$35/hr) a year with no 401K (bc I've been there less than a year) and benefits that I could certainly do without. I work at a client's sight where the client pays all the overhead cost. IBM's cut is over 70% and they don't do squat. Now they are trying to reduce my salary 15%. I am already working 43hr weeks on average which is the max they will let me, and this year I stand to lose 6% in pay. I have a coworker who can only work at max 40 hours and he stands to lose $12,000 each year. I personally had offers on the table from Lockheed Martin (along with Booz, Grant Thornton, Feds) and I went with IBM because they sold me they were a good company and their offer was slightly better. In hindsight this was a terrible move. I will now be making $5,350 less working for them as I would be working for Lockheed and Lockheed was also offering a signing bonus and a Secret Clearance. Please go ahead with this talk about how we deserve this treatment. I was not a part of any class action suit regarding overtime. I signed a contract and now IBM is renigging. I can't stand people who try to defend a company they don't even know. Please keep your comments to yourself until you ACTUALLY know what you are talking about.

  45. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  46. Shafted in the USA
    Flame

    Shafted in the USA

    As one of the recently shafted, I believe I can speak with authority here when I say that I'd like all those cheap IBM management ******* to try & live on what they've cut my pay to. If I were in the UK my pay would have been cut from roughly 30K quid to 25K a year, or in USD $60K to $50K. Can any of you live like that? Oh, yes, we're now overtime eligible, but before we can work one minute of OT it must be pre-approved by our manager. When my manager was telling me what my "new" base pay was going to be, he also told me that unless there were unusual circumstances we would not be getting any OT at all because we work shifts 7x24x365 at a client's site. And no, we can't just work those extra 5+ hours each week to make up the difference. The client whose site we work at recently outsourced us to IBM after cutting our pay while we worked for them over 30% in the past two years...so if any thing, I'm mad as hell & I'm not going to take it anymore! All of you who are defending IBM don't know what you're talking about. I dare you to try & work in the conditions I have had in the past few years with the economy tanking & then say we're whining. I dare say you'd be talking a different talk then.

  47. Cecelia Holley

    IBM FALLACY....

    It is a big fabrication on the part of IBM to state that the average employee at IBM makes $80,000 per year. The salary is really half that... the average salary is approximately $40,000.

    Does this not seem like greed.,.. the companay made 10 billion last year so truly IBM did not lose any money, so to cut employee's salaries by 15% is ludicrous and shows that this company is greedy... why not also cut management salary. Also to have put administrative employees with IT is truly the greatest blunder because they are two different departments.

    It is truly sad that this is the way that IBM chooses to treat it's loyal employees.

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