back to article Calling your redundancy programme Baccarat? Immense Bummer, Management

Word reaches us of Project Baccarat*, IBM’s latest redundancy programme for staffers in the Infrastructure Services Delivery division. In mid-February, Big Blue asked for volunteers among the UK ISD workforce to leave the business with a statutory minimum pay-off, but after a 30-day consultation, the requisite 30 heads had not …

  1. Justicesays

    Let's see...

    "IBM hasn’t reported sales growth in five years."

    Suit 1: We keep firing the staff but sales aren't going up, shouldn't this strategy be working by now?

    Suit 2: What are you complaining about? Just keep filling your pockets and cutting staff and it will all work out...

    Suit 1: For IBM?

    Suit 2: No, you idiot, for us!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's see...

      "IBM hasn’t reported sales growth in five years."

      And it will not. Services are presently (and will remain for the foreseeable future) a race to the bottom which has reached the lowest possible margins ~ 5-10%. This margin is worse than selling groceries.

      The only way to improve this margin of a service is to attach it to a UNIQUE product offering. Something IBM used to do quite successfully for 4+ decades. It has decided to divest from this model and engage in a pure and simple race to the bottom. The results are exactly what is to be expected and I am surprised at the vehement stupidity of all the ANALists which are failing to see this.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Let's see...

      "IBM hasn’t reported sales growth in five years." - For an outfit the size I've Been Moved that is a stellar achievement of absolute incompetence considering IT overall is a growing field.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's see...

        They move so slowly, I'm surprised they ever get to complete their accounts.

        They approached me recently to do some freelance consultancy work. I could have been finished in about 5 days. Six months later they decided I had to go on their approved supplier list. Took a month for them to realise that they needed £2m in Professional Indemnity (I only have £1m), so they tried to put me through an agency intead.

        Paperwork completed, ready to go after almost 8 months. Project cancelled!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I assume there enough Harry Potter fans there to ensure Debbie Hallows has acquired the soubriquet "Deathly".

  3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    They called it Baccarat...

    They called it Baccarat because senior management told HR to sack a load of people and HR replied "Yes Sir, I can boogie..."

    1. smudge

      Re: They called it Baccarat...

      ... or because the house always has the edge over the punters :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They called it Baccarat...

      "Yes Sir, I can boogie..."

      This'll make you feel yer age: The birds in Baccara are now sixty five. I can remember thinking "phwoaarrr" about them.

      Anyway, can I offer you a Werther's Original?

  4. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    client excellence leader

    client excellence leader — with a title like this, hanging is too good for him.

  5. Bob Vistakin

    They are very good at getting rid of people

    Very good indeed.

  6. Velv

    A similar cost-cutting programme is taking place elsewhere in GTS, with Technical Support Services techies entering into a compulsory redundancy consultation, despite 44 people raising their hands to go of their own accord. Clearly, IBM didn’t want some of those people to leave.

    Presumably those roles are not in the UK as it's illegal to split redundancies up into small chunks as this changes the total number of redundancies and the relevant consultation period.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it's illegal to split redundancies up into small chunks

      Well, it works for UK universities, who split their postdoctoral redundancies into chunks as small as one, despite making many such redundancies as part of an ongoing process.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this ladies and gentlemen

    is why I won't be recommending IT as a career to my kids.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And this ladies and gentlemen

      I won't be recommending IT as a career to my kids

      Speaking for myself, I shall never knowingly buy from, recommend, or assist any part of the vile, miserable business that is IBM. Given that they do little or nothing consumer facing the happy choice to boycott them rarely arises as an individual, but in a business context I make sure in any discussion of ITO or BPO, or even when talking about Watson and AI, I always make sure the shameful track record of IBM comes up in conversation, along with their poor corporate performance, and malignant addiction to offshoring.

      Makes you wonder what they stand for these days, but at least we know what the letters stand for: Indian Business Machinations. And the unofficial motto: Nobody ever didn't get sacked for joining IBM.

    2. Nolveys

      Re: And this ladies and gentlemen

      And this ladies and gentlemen

      is why I won't be recommending IT as a career to my kids.

      There are so many reasons to choose from, why focus on just this?

    3. ChrisPv

      Re: And this ladies and gentlemen

      And this, ladies and gentleman is why you have to have unions. Once your industry matures, that is. But they are though sell to IT geniuses with superiority complex.

  8. Paul 25

    What an offer....

    So the options were:

    * Volunteer in Feb and get 30 days statutory

    * Wait for the redundancy process to kick in, then get 30 days statutory.

    Why would anyone pick the first option? Why go immediately when you can carry on being paid to sit at work and browse job sites and tart up your CV?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What an offer....

      >Why would anyone pick the first option? Why go immediately when you can carry on being paid to sit at work and browse job sites and tart up your CV?

      Can only assume those volunteers were successful in their job search almost immediately so got paid a "bonus" to leave IBM and take a new job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What an offer....

        Exactly. If you're moving on from IBM and your new employer ask when you can start the reply is "whenever the next round of redundancies is, so I can get some extra cash. That'll be sometime in the next fortnight."

  9. Otto is a bear.

    Take one pace forward

    If you want to take statutory minimum, oh no takes, well we'll choose then. Come on, if you want volunteers you need to do better than that. Full rate and a gratuity would be a start.

  10. kmac499

    Alternative Code Name origin

    Apparently Baccarat also make some very nice glass crystal bottles for some very very nice Brandy.

    (The empty bottles can sell for a couple of hundred quid alone)

    Maybe a full one is the prize for the first Veep to hit their target.?

  11. bpfh

    Naming redundancy projects

    I think that a company that has the time and money to hire consultants just to think up a project code name of their latest cost cutting firing plan deserves to be put through a meat grinder...

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The board game invented by John Nash comes to find.

    His original name for it was "F**k you buddy," but the mfg found that unacceptable for some reason.

  13. GrumpyOF

    Back when IBM was a good company

    as a first line manager (technology) you typically had about 8 - 10 people reporting to you. Second level management had 5-6 reports and third level had 4-6.

    So if there were 100 in the firing line you could at the very least expect to see some management take a hit at the same time.

    pity that HR never seems to qualify for these 'career options"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back when IBM was a good company

      >pity that HR never seems to qualify for these 'career options"

      HR went a long time ago. Everything's done from Hungary nowadays. Similarly, payroll is all in the Philippines. I was in a meeting in IBM recently and discovered that in the US, first line support had all gone to India now with everyone being sacked. In the UK they're still here, presumably because they can't get rid of them quickly enough.

      All IBM customers I know have vowed to stop using IBM in future. Bit like a car salesman saying "yeah I know that death trap I sold you had been clocked and was a cut-and-shut, and I told you to fuck off when you wanted a refund, but now I'm selling windows. Would you like to buy some windows?"

      Of course, there are plenty of IBM customers who will continue to be IBM customers, because IBM are on the "approved vendor" list, and the wining and dining experience is far more important than the product, which doesn't really matter when you're spending someone else's money and you don't have to take any responsibility for it.

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    IBM sales forecasts

  15. Platinumoe

    What about contracted terms?

    I must be missing something here but how can IBM specify you will only get stat redundancy payments?

    What about if you have specific redundancy terms in your contract?

    1. Julian 8

      Re: What about contracted terms?

      If that is in your contract then you are good as they cannot get out of it, but never seen that in a contract I have had.

      If they could pay you nothing they would, but they have to pay the statutory minimum

      At the company I was at, you can see which countries have good work laws as some countries still have some staff left behind as it is too expensive to get rid of them.

      Just be glad you are not in the America's. I hear my old colleagues were really screwed

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about contracted terms?

      They're providing a 12 week notice period - which is the legal minimum for anyone with 12years service, whilst those of less than 12 years service are offered a longer notification period. The official guidance from the government is a minimum period, so the 12 week period legally covers them for anyone working for IBM regardless of service length. They also say that you will be asked to work this 12 weeks period because they wish to prove to HMRC that you are not being paid IN LIEU OF NOTICE / gaining an advantage, or some such attempt at making people stay until the end of Q2.

      Now, it's contractual terms only if you have something in your contract that says 'voluntary' and not just 'redundancy'.

      Overall, if I could find a local job with similar salary then I'd be out of here but I'm not living in the middle of London or any particular hotspot where there's a lack of people to fill positions - and I'm not that young that I don't have a mortgage or no friends that I'd like to remain around (PS. It's not like I've not had interviews but when there's no feedback from the recruiters who are the contact point for the job application you start to wonder if they're even reading your CV).

  16. Platinumoe

    Thanks for clarifying.

    I have previously worked with IBMers and I know many who TUPEd across from other companies with good redundancy terms i.e. 4 weeks pay per year of service and so on.

    Most likely if you start work there now you wouldn't get terms like that, it'll be statutory all the way.

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