back to article I've Been Moved: IBMers in same division slapped with 2nd redundo scheme in 2 months

IBM UK appears to have fired the starting gun on a 2.0 redundancy programme for the Infrastructure Services Delivery division – before the first one has even concluded. Employees were given around an hour’s notice yesterday to join a mandatory call hosted by Deathly Debbie Hallows, veep of ISD for the UK and Ireland in which …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Just maybe

    if they cut a few of the big salaries at the top, they could keep some employees?

    1. Lusty

      Re: Just maybe

      Let's say someone near the top earns £1M/year. A good infrastructure person will earn say £100k, so we get to save 10 of those thousands for each exec. We're now left with 10 people who have no work since they are in a declining market, and no management to steer them towards something else. They will be redundant in a couple of months regardless...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just maybe

        You've obviously not worked for IBM. I can assure you, they don't pay techies that much. In addition, the sheer layers of management are insane. And if you read the article, you can see that the management have no idea at all - just swing the axe as fast as possible. No chance to even see the results of the axe swing. Does that sound like effective management?

        Hint - that's not what a good management team does.

        But sure, go on believing that those execs are worth those kind of salaries. BTW, you did know that Ginni has missed her target for 20 straight quarters in a row but still keeps picking up her bonus and massive fat pay packet? She definitely would not be missed (especially by a sniper).

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Just maybe

          Maybe El Reg's crack Special Units Bureau can redefine the Gini coefficient to the Ginni coefficient to measure the gap between performance and monstrous pay packet...

        2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Just maybe

          "the sheer layers of management are insane"

          Indeed, my line manager was a nice bloke, but he was little more than an policy conduit, he didn't make any decisions, he was just responsible for making sure we abided by whatever decisions were handed down.

      2. Solarflare

        Re: Just maybe

        @Lusty "Let's say someone near the top earns £1M/year. A good infrastructure person will earn say £100k"

        Please direct me to where a typical 'good infrastructure person' earns £100k!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just maybe

          "Please direct me to where a typical 'good infrastructure person' earns £100k!!!"

          California, USA. Be seeing you. Although we don't pay in shillings, you'll have to settle for what passes for money in the US. What is the damn exchange rate anyway... £1 == $.84? Even in Queeny Quids, you can easily make £110k/year, or close to £95k if we are talking about a metric year. :P

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just maybe

          " Please direct me to where a typical 'good infrastructure person' earns £100k!!! "

          Finance. Hedge funds and investment banks will pay around that much. With 13 years infra experience I am on £95k base (not including bonus and benefits). Bonus ranges from 0% to 20% of total salary depending on how good a year we had (and personal performance).

          One Unix greybeard with 35 years experience is on £150k+ base (not sure how much exactly).

          Outside of that industry it is relatively slim pickings. Oil companies will offer you around 70k, while most everyone else seems to top out round 55-60k.

          Places like Google/Amazon/Facebook also match the Finance industry in total compensation, if your skills are desirable to them (they had an issue of smart techies running to Finance, so had to up their offers to stop the brain drain).

      3. chivo243 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Just maybe

        @Lusty

        How about we just fire all the workers, then manglement will be out of work or at the coalface.... that would be funny to see. With nobodies to manage what do the managers get to do??

        Seriously, management steering? Right, into the tree no doubt...

        yes, my coat... I'll Be Moving along now...

      4. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Just maybe

        "Let's say someone near the top earns £1M/year. A good infrastructure person will earn say £100k, so we get to save 10 of those thousands for each exec. "

        No. A good infrastructure person whose efforts are being put to good use (which kind of implies being managed effectively) is actually generating more income for the company than they are earning.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just maybe

      Yes they could, and this is an-oft repeated refrain.

      Problem is that there may not be that much to gain. There are relatively few receiving (fewer actually EARN it) the really big salaries, so even if they did cut a few at the top it may not save that many people below.

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Interesting choice of picture

    Someone exercising an immense force to chop in two what appears to be ROTTEN deadwood.

    Is the article author trying to say something?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Infrastructure

    I feel bad for these people, and IBM definitely seem to have turned into asshats, but realistically infrastructure jobs are going across the board so this is expected. If they weren't expecting this then perhaps moving from IT isn't a bad thing. Cloud based services are so clearly the future and have been for some time, with most application owners at least investigating how to architect for platform services based systems. Anyone who didn't see this coming needs to read the news a bit more often!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Infrastructure

      Ever hear the adage that "The Cloud" is just someone else's computer? Yeah. This is IBM, when we run stuff "in the cloud", at best, that means Softlayer... which we own. If IBM is cutting infrastructure jobs, it's cutting our nose off to spite our face.

      And Ginni fiddled while Rome burned...

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Infrastructure

      Er, IBM host stuff for other people? They are cloud providers, via their datacentres in Warwick and Portsmouth. The issue is not cloud, nor the location of the servers, but that much of the support comes from lower cost countries.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Infrastructure

      "Cloud based services are so clearly the future"

      And as the outages become more frequent their vendors will be able to say they were the future once upon a time. Anybody who can't see that coming needs to read the news and to have been around long enough to realise that IT is a fashion industry.

  4. Steve the Cynic

    Um...

    "Staff now jokingly refer to the company as I’ve Been Moved"

    *Now*? Staff have called it that for a *long* time. Like, you know, decades.

    In the early part of the 1980s, I lived in Endicott NY, home of IBM. The centre of the village (despite its substantial land area, it is incorporated as a "village") seemed to be composed entirely of IBM buildings, IBM staff car parks, and roads.

    As a result, I got to hear *all* the dumb jokes about IBM, and "I've Been Moved" was one of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um...

      "Ich Bin Mude" is another old one...

    2. Stevie

      Re: Um...

      I lost a good job because I refused to be moved to the used-to-be-a-toxic-superfund-cleanup-site-before-the-state-"acquired"-the-site that is Endicott.

      Cadmium polluted, wasn't it?

  5. wolfetone Silver badge

    No one got fired for buying IBM

    But the same can't be said for people who work for IBM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No one got fired for buying IBM

      Thankfully, these days, plenty of people get fired for buying IBM.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I"ve Been Moved" is nothing new. But back then (before the id-80s) it meant that IBM could reassign you to a new location, and would pay for all expenses.

    Still prefer "It's Better Manually", though.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      " IBM could reassign you to a new location, and would pay for all expenses."

      They even had a business entity of some sort (I don't remember the precise relationship) that would buy the to-be-moved employee's house if the market was slow. You'd see houses in the realtor's listings that were noted as being sold by this entity - it meant they had been empty for some amount of time, among other things.

    2. 2Nick3

      There were numerous "redefinitions" of IBM:

      I've Been Moved

      It's Better Manual

      I've Been Misled

      It's Been Marginal

      In Boca, Maybe...

      I Better Misdirect

      I could go on, but then I'd have to post anonymously...

      1. Captain DaFt

        "I could go on, but then I'd have to post anonymously..."

        One more for you then:

        Intelligent Brain Missing

      2. Bob Vistakin
        Facepalm

        That acronym for the Management -> Worker relationship

        Intense Bowel Movement

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've Been Married

      4. Triggerfish

        I Bill Monthly, is what my boss calls 'em.

  7. seven of five

    ISD?

    Is that Imperial Star Destroyer?

    Or Interdiction Strike Deployment?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting...

    "The consultation for Project "Ruby" will last for 30 days, so between 20 and 99 people heads will roll."

    So the IBM axe swing formula is 19+1d80.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting...

      If we're not constrained to "real" dice and you'll allow me some leeway (I might fire one extra person. Ginni will reward this behaviour), I think that 20D5 would be better.

  9. Smoking Man

    40000?

    And Ginni promised Trump to create 40k jobs in U.S.

    I tend to not believe in this going to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 40000?

      It could happen. IBM could take part ownership in Trump branded resort properties, and run them. Now, they hire 40,000 low-end service workers at sub-US$10/hr, and you have 40k new jobs! America is saved! Trump be praised! Get your golf clubs, or your broom, depending on how incorporated you are, of course. Would not want any of these 40k riff-raff mixing with the paying customers!

      1. Stevie

        Re: 40000?

        Nonono, these jobs were promised as "good jobs, high paying jobs, not the bad jobs we had under Obama"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And Ginni promised Trump to create 40k jobs in U.S.

      Those would be created by the firms picking up IBM's business.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    short sighted management

    Unfortunately this is just an example of management who are brought in just to hack and slash, in a short sighted way to reduce costs. They walk away with huge bonuses, but it ends up costing the business more.

    I worked for a global company (3rd largest in their sector). Whilst I was there it had grown, via mergers and acquisitions, from a UK business to a organisation with offices in over 120 countries, I worked for the Global IT team located in the UK head office and my responsibility was the global network and security.

    The business brought in a new Global IT Directory with a view to reduce costs, but we had previous experience of him as a hatchet man.

    Rather than look at how you could achieve long term savings, his only thought was to slash the group IT costs in 2 year, so he could walk away with a huge bonus. First thing he slashed was the group integration budget. I was left explaining to irate regional business heads that we now expected them to pay for connectivity to central systems, that they were being told by central management (including the Global IT director) that had to use.

    Then the group services IT budget disappeared, so the proposed cost saving by doing global deals (100,000+ seats) for such capabilities such a OS, anti-malware, etc were removed, replaced by much more expensive 'local' agreements, which were initially charged to the local IT budget, but appeared on the global balance sheet as an 'global IT Cost'.

    Surprise, surprise after the first year of budget cutting, the overall group IT costs had increased, the guy had no idea about the costs savings achieved through tighter integration and global purchasing agreements. At that point I decided to leave the business, because I could see where it was going. I stayed in touch and wasn't surprised to hear that the regional directors (whom I had had a fantastic working relationship with) had started to produce more local solutions and incurring even more expense, because they weren't getting the central support, so the hack and slash Global IT Director got an excel speadsheet of all the wages of all the UK and Group IT staff, drew a line through it of all those above a certain wage (both technical experts and senior IT management) and sacked them. Quite literally the guys who had helped build the business from a small office above a shop to a global international organisation, gone overnight.

    Th UK HO was basically left paralysed, with anything more than the simplest IT operations requiring professional support being brought in. Guess how much that saved?? The company was taken over within 18 months.

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: short sighted management

      > The company was taken over within 18 months.

      Takeover could have been the plan from day one. Cue Mr. hatchet getting a large package of stock of the new company. Ain't life lovely?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: short sighted management

      The hatchet man is just the tool. The direction he is following was set by the Exec of the organisation and Finance.

      Don't focus on who swings the blade - look at who is telling him to chop.

      The top 1% are functional psychopaths, only interested in filling their pockets with millions and not giving a shit about the people they fuck over and wasteland they leave behind.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: short sighted management

      "Unfortunately this is just an example of management who are brought in just to hack and slash, in a short sighted way to reduce costs."

      I was one of the people made redundant by STC in a frantic bid to cut costs and deal with their tanking share price. Six months later the analysts were complaining that STC had disposed of its R&D engineers and so was no longer competitive.

      Did I complain? A lot at the time. But four years later I was engineering director at another company. Sometimes being given the sack quite unreasonably can be motivating.

  11. Stoke the atom furnaces

    The harsh reality

    Not surprising, I have been using IBM Lotus Notes at work for the last 14 years and it is still a crock of sh*te.

    If they cannot fix the obvious shortcomings of their products how can they expect to keep their jobs?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The harsh reality

      While I agree it's a pile of shite, it does beg the question of why the continued usage?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The harsh reality

        Well local mailbox and archiving are two cool features.

        The again, there is always Verse.

      2. Stoke the atom furnaces

        Re: The harsh reality

        E-mail was moved over to MS Outlook some time ago, but we are still using a large number of legacy Lotus Notes databases which are time consuming to migrate to something better.

  12. tony2heads

    Operation Baccarat

    Sounding more like Russian Roulette for IBMers. If you were spared the first time, there is the next chamber ready

  13. -tim
    Coat

    Repeating names

    "I've Been Moved" has been used many times over the decades.

    And now from the 1980s edition of the IBM songbook^

    "I BM, You BM, We all BM for I B M!"

    ^the IBM song book is a real thing

  14. ChrisPv

    In simpler times

    In the situation like this, when company is firing left and right, there would be words; words like strike, workers solidarity, unions, words long forgotten.

    1. Alt C

      Re: In simpler times

      From the article that's what is being threatened in Europe - the UK with its less restrictive employment legislation (read crap) gets to endure losing all the jobs Europe is protecting - expect to see more of this in our new agile 'open for business' economy.

  15. Mpeler
    Mushroom

    I've Been Moved

    IBM has always been referred to as "I've Been Moved", at least in the USA. For anyone with any hope of advancement (at least in the 1950s and 1960s), they needed to be prepared to move at the drop of a hat.

    I had a former colleague who was asked to move; he replied that he needed to talk to his wife. Next thing that happened was that he was asked to leave, instead.

    Over in Germany they say, "Immer besser manuell", roughly "always better by hand" (no comments there in the back row...). Seems Hacksaw Ginny has her hands on everyone's throats now...

    Best wishes and condolences both for those leaving and those left. I expect the various shards of HP will follow in suit...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM are pretty famous

    for offloading their bottom 10% of under performers each year. Perhaps more companies need to operate like this.

    1. Whitter
      Meh

      Fire the bottom 10%

      Wasn't that General Electric? (CEO Jack Welsh if google serves aright).

      Regardless, it rather pre-supposes you have a means to measure employee "value", which most companies don't. They have lots of metrics on their employees of course, but few of them illustrate anything meaningful.

      And as was pointed out above several times: it always hits the snag that if you pay somebody bonuses to fire people (be that directly or in short-term shares where short-term market "valuation" via the clueless share-price rules), then that is exactly what they will do.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Fire the bottom 10%

        You can keep firing the bottom ten percent every year, but at some point you probaby should look at yourself and wonder why your company is not only failing to grow and keep them employed but actually negatively growing shown by the fact you need to keep getting rid of people.

        Plus if you keep doing that, don't you end up with a point where you end up sitting looking in the mirror giving yourself notice, since you are the only one left to fire?

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: IBM are pretty famous

      "Perhaps more companies need to operate like this."

      Uh huh. The annual PBC process is a farce. It's graded on a curve, with a fixed percentage failure rate, so effectively each year the bar is moved up, as people are culled. So if all the workforce perform well, and meet all their targets and SLAs, it doesn't matter, some will still be placed in grade 3 or grade 4, because a certain percentage _have_ to occupy those grades. Remember doing hurdles at school? Imagine your class were running, and jumping hurdles, and everyone cleared every hurdle, only to be told that despite not knocking any over, some of you didn't do it well enough and were getting a 'F'. Way to screw morale, no?

      Also, the process is geared towards rewarding salesy bullshitters who love bigging themselves up. The PBC process involves writing up why you are so great, which sales types never tire of. But if you are a backroom tecchie, and fit the stereotype of not being that social, well, the PBC process is rather uncomfortable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM are pretty famous

        GruntyMcPugh,

        Got it in one !!!

        The people who spend 50% of their time telling everyone how 'Great' they are and 50% working are the ones who move up the greasy pole.

        The people who do all the work and are too busy to 'sell' themselves to all and sundry are the ones who get sacked.

        That is how the middle to upper management tend to be the same type of people, who are too busy 'pitching' their greatness to their bosses to really manage. They rely on the people who can just get on with the job but then complain that you are not selling yourself !!!

        [Proof of the old adage that people tend to employ people like themselves, so they surround themselves by others that are 'Self obsessed and in constant Sell mode'.]

        All I can say is well done IBM, they have done this 'Purge and Pray' on a regular cycle.

        Many other US based companies do the same as it is seen as the 'Right way' to engender hard work and company loyalty yadda yadda yadda !!!

        Every time they promise to learn from the mistake when it is realised they have dumped people they need.

        Then do it again when the 'collective management memory' has confined the promises to the 'round filling container' ..... yet again !!!

        I do wonder how IBM survives this cycle but they are still there year after year.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IBM are pretty famous

      Troll?

  17. Stevie

    Bah!

    I see "three" projects in all:

    1) Baccarat

    2) Ruby

    3) Alamo

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      Stevie,

      Which parts of IBM are at risk under Alamo?

      To borrow a quote "three consultation processes have been initiated", but only 2 appear to be targeted at the same group as Baccarat and Ruby - at least acknowledged in the public domain, so far.

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