back to article IBM puts 1,248 frontline techies at risk of redundo, warns of data centre closures

IBM has put 1,248 heads in its UK Global Technology Services (GTS) division at risk of redundancy with a little over one fifth of those ultimately facing the long walk down the company corridors to collect their P45s. As revealed last month, IBM asked its front line techies in the Infrastructure Services (IS) and T&T Delivery …

  1. batfink Silver badge

    Yep, sounds like a plan

    Sack the people who deliver, concentrate on expanding sales. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yep, sounds like a plan

      If by "expanding sales" you mean "relentlessy push IBM products regardless of the need or how well they match the customer requirement then yes.

      The trouble with all those TUPEd employees is that they think the customer doesn't want overpriced tat. Far better to get some cheap offshored prson with no real experience of what the cutomer needs to nod willingly as each new IBM sales initiative emerges from the account management team....

  2. Alister

    "Infrastructure Services continue to be challenged by our margin improvement target, with our current trajectory not showing the growth we need"

    Hmm, well maybe you should consider revising that target, instead of trying to attain the impossible.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Or try to achieve it by providing the sort of service that keeps customers. That requires staff who can deliver.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ... get rid of the cretins in the company 'leadership' team that make up unachievable targets and then think the best way to achieve them is to get rid of the technical employees who actually deliver anything to the customer. Also these people at the top are the ones who put the biggest drain on the wages bill. That means they're the least productive and the most expensive. In any sane world that would paint huge bullseyes on them for the redundo axe to aim for .... but since when are we in a sane world?

      Of course, what IBM needs is to become a company solely comprised of incompetent managers and sales people, with no-one to manage and no-one to deliver anything they sell. Then lets see how they meet any company growth targets.

      What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Infrastructure Services need to have more direct and adequately skilled client-facing employees, with a shift of focus from indirect and above market roles to client centric new business growth within the market."


    Do you honesty think giving your customers a crap service is going to make them think "Hey - lets spend even more money with IBM". I'll tell you exactly what the customers are thinking.

    "If I am going to get a crap service regardless of who I end up with, I might as well go with someone even cheaper".

    If IBM don't want to do services, get the fuck out of that market sector and leave it to those that do. I really have never come across senior management so far out of touch with reality.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      I think that sentence just says "stop doing your techo job and sell stuff instead". The "new business growth" bit is a bit of a giveaway.

      As usual, the focus is on Sales rather than Delivery. As those in charge tend to be from Sales or Finance in the first place, they don't realise that "doing a good job of delivery" might actually be important.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes. But you can't grow business if you

        1) Can't keep the customer happy with the service they are being given

        2) Don't have the necessary people left who can deliver it

        3) Don't have the staff that are capable enough to keep it running

        This is where IBM shoot themselves in the head pretty much *every *single *time. There are rare cases where it doesn't happen, but sadly those are few and far between.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          moar stock buybacks

          forget deliverables, buy back moar shares.

          IBM was amazing until that Nabisco guy came along.

          Controlled impact into terrain ever since.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: moar stock buybacks

            Controlled, really ?

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        ""stop doing your techo job and sell stuff instead""

        I see that many times on field service tech job postings. The job will be looking to be a good match for my skills and then there will be requirement to sell enough other services, contract extensions or new kit. The huge problem is that I'd be working in the trenches no where near the people that make the buying decisions. Medical is the worst. The lab where the mass spec I'd be working on may be in a completely different building from the administrators or even across town. If I don't make the sale quota, I'm sacked. If I spend too much time on site, I'm sacked. If I don't get the device repaired and running quickly, I'm sacked. Bugger that. I'm off to the local grocery to get a midnight job restocking shelves. Brainless work, but lots of it and no bother about formal business dress or having the headphones on.

    2. ToddRundgrensUtopia
    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I really have never come across senior management so far out of touch with reality."

      Never worked in the civil service then, have you?

      1. BebopWeBop

        Well having been seconded to parts of the home office and then the foreign office, I met a number of people who were *very* much in touch.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "adequately skilled client-facing employees"

      This doesn't mean what you think it does - adequately skilled in IBM-speak is being able to tell the customer you are meeting all the SLA's while you know your internal processes are eiher not working or being faked.

      I suspect you thought "adequately skilled" referred to some technial or business knowledge rather than justthe ability to lie to the customer.

    5. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "I really have never come across senior management so far out of touch with reality."

      You don't get out much, do you?

      The first thing a post-grad business major is required to do is schedule an appointment to have their lobotomy and common-sense-ectomy.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "our overhead"

    "1,248 people have been put [..] at risk"

    IBM, you might want to go and check the definition of "overhead". It's no use complaining about your overhead if the people you lay off are not managers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "our overhead"

      I was just going to say exactly the same. Full talk a good ones, email warriors and folder carriers in suits just about says it all.

  5. Adelio

    IBM and profits

    I seems like the ONLY way IBM make any profits these days is by laying off staff.

    Not inovating, not providing world beating service, just keep cutting staff..... (not executives mind you).

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: IBM and profits


  6. Mr Dogshit

    Two lions escape from the zoo and split up to increase their chances. When they finally meet after two months, one is skinny and the other overweight.

    The thin one says, "How did you manage? I ate a human just once and they turned out a small army to chase me with guns and nets, it was terrible. Since then I've been reduced to eating mice, insects, even grass."

    The fat one replies: "Well, *I* hid near an IBM office and ate a manager every day. Nobody even noticed!"

    1. macjules

      I am surprised they even bothered with redundancies. I would have thought that they would just introduce a few staffers with COVID-19 into the canteen and let nature take its course.

      1. BebopWeBop

        They have already deep sixed older experienced workers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Have you eaten in their canteen ?

  7. johnnyblaze

    IBM can f*ck off

    F*uk IBM and companies like them. If the execs at the top can't guide the company in the right directions and make the right decisions, don't take it out on the hard-working people who actually MAKE the company what it is. I'm totally p*ssed that when there's a dip here and there - that you would assume would be recoverable IF those execs did the right thing - heads must roll, and all to keep the shareholders and investors happy so they keep getting their dividend payouts. IBM can just go and f*ck right off.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: IBM can f*ck off

      Reg Rant score 92/100 IMO.

      Nice effort - keep up the good work.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: IBM can f*ck off

        Agreed - a bit more capitalization would have pushed it up close to the 100 mark.

        See Bombastic Bob's posts for a style (but generally not content) guide.

  8. Pete4000uk

    How do they have

    Any staff left?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: How do they have

      @Pete4000uk: "Any staff left?"

      Any contracts left? I was hoovered up into Big Blue in an outsourcing deal, as were many local employment options,... one poor bugger I worked with left IBM, only for his new employer to outsource to Big Blue and he was back in again. I just had a virtual mooch around Linkedin, and it would appear all the people I knew that were working on outsourced IBM contracts now appear to work directly for the company.

  9. trevorde Silver badge


    Take your pick of:

    aggressive cost take-out

    resource action

    workforce rebalancing


    In the end, it all comes down to firing employees.

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: Semantics

      I would add another choice - innovate with products/services that the market wants at the right price.

  10. AndrueC Silver badge

    Infrastructure Services continue to be challenged by our margin improvement target, with our current trajectory not showing the growth we need, as well as the erosion of existing contracts continuing to challenge us

    Maybe try talking in plain English?


    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      There's something more IBM could learn from a little further on.

      1. Commswonk

        Another relevant Dilbert:

        Took a bit of finding...

  11. IGnatius T Foobar !

    India Business Machines?

    Weren't they some sort of 20th century computer company or something?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > Statutory minimum redundancy terms are being offered to GTS IBMers. Those who exit under voluntary terms are estimated to leave on 26 June and those forced out of the door will be gone by 26 August.

    Statutory minimum is sure to encourage lots of people to go voluntarily. Not.

    PS: If you've got corona virus be sure to go in for your exit interview and shake your boss' hand to show there are no hard feelings.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Redundancy

      @AC: "Statutory minimum is sure to encourage lots of people to go voluntarily. Not."

      Gotta admit, it was this that pushed me over the edge to take VR, I knew the more than stat min offerings wouldn't last forever, so cashed out, and it turns out my redundo round was the last to offer more than stat min.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Redundancy

        Ditto. I left HP when the redundancy payments were extremely good, I feel smug now as we all moved on and did a startup with the proceeds, but I feel sorry for people now being 'let go'.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Redundancy

      "PS: If you've got corona virus be sure to go in for your exit interview and shake your boss' hand to show there are no hard feelings."

      Or even just a sniffle you can pass along that makes them think they've got CV.

  13. YetAnotherJoeBlow


    IBM is really not relevant anymore; when they decreased investment and hiring GREAT scientists in Watson, this is the obvious result. Well done Ginny! Here is that golden parachute we promised you. We will be pushing you out at 30000 ft. (We told you it was gold didn't we?)

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: Relevent?

      She lands on the gold rather than being given a parachute made of it.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Relevent?

      @YetAnotherJoeBlow: "not relevant"

      I now work in a medium size enterprise, some 6000 seats, and we have a decent IT budget,.... but there's nothing we'd buy from IBM. Back in the day, we had an AS/400, bought IBM desktops and laptops, but now there isn't an IBM product we'd want, and it seems IBM just don't want our money. How IBM can turn their back on all of those small and mid sized businesses baffles me. Betting on cloud doesn't seem smart, 'cos we're Azure/O365 and a little AWS.

    3. Same Old Same Old

      Re: Relevent?

      I bet Sam is shaking his head in disbelief thinking what the fuck did I do by appoint that stupid woman to bugger up my legacy.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit worrying

    I live in foreign and cannot open another U.K. bank account so am well and truly stuck with Lloyd’s for my old country banking. Their IT was pretty crap even before they gave it to the waste management company.

    P.S. the UKs anti money laundering regulations now prevent any foreign resident who is not a money launderer from opening a bank account. It would not be a problem if my name ended in chev and had a few Cyrillic letters.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    IBM definitely don’t value skills or experience, and do not allow their staff to join conferences or get training. Its difficult to know how they will survive when all the people working on their accounts are stuck in the 1990s in terms of technology.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Training

      @AC Training,... oh dear, when we were TUPEd in the early 2000s, the guy that came to tell us how brilliant is was going to be working for IBM told us we'd get two weeks training a year, not necessarily classroom, but at least CBT. In the 15 years I was blue, I got on two courses, one because there was cash for training while I was benched (and to my knowledge this happened precisely once) and one other time because someone dropped out of a course and we couldn't get a refund, so I went.

      So, CBT,.... well, no. We were pressured to make all time booked chargeable to customers, in fact, if you had a 'flat' quarter, and didn't bill overtime to a customer, you'd get a nag about that, so using admin or training codes on our timesheets was a definite no no, any 'training' would have be done in our own time, or billed to a customer. One year there was a training goal set for everyone, that we all had to complete 40 hours of training (a fad that lasted precisely one year) but conference calls discussing the deployment of new centralised server management tool counted,..... so no actual training.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Training

        @ Grunty - you think you had it bad, got outsourced to CSC due to the promises made during our original employer's Due Diligence about opportunities to work anywhere in the world (as long as it's the same job and place you're in now), lots of training (as long as it's of the 'on the job' type when we give you more stuff to deal with but don't actually bother to train you), opportunities to move roles (see 'relocate' above)... The only part that was actually true was that they wouldn't make us (all) wear a shirt-and-tie every day (of course not - they let us have weekends off! Most of the time...)

        Actually I'm being a bit misleading, we did get training from external suppliers - but only because those suppliers threatened not to give CSC the new hardware unless they were allowed to teach us how to use it without breaking it!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Training

        I can confirm its exactly the same now and if you have your holiday cancelled this month due to coronavirus and want to rearrange your leave then tough it cant be carried forward past April 6th.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Training

        Still the same bullshit now and it's called Think40

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Training

          Think40 was just another tool to get rid of folk who hadn't done the 40 hours "training" or at least weren't sensible enough to do some creative accounting to invent those 40 hours by the end of year Checkpoint...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It’s a good year

    To bury bad news.

  17. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge


    Alternatively IBM could remove huge costs by rationalising and restructuring 3 layers of EMEA level management and then sweating those remaining "managers" much harder. Thereby retaining the continually battered but talented front-line staff that actually do the work.

    I guess that strategy just doesn't play to the maximisation of bonuses and dividends by the utilisation of cheap Indian and Asian labour though does it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternatively...

      trouble is, who makes the strategy an business decisions?

      Turkeys don't vote for christmas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternatively...


        Those turkeys just manage to vote themselves onto the IBM board of directors.....

  18. Sherrie Ludwig

    The executions will not stop until morale (and profits, well, especially profits) improve.

  19. IGotOut Silver badge

    Well at least....

    ...they can claim it was the coronavirus rather than Brexit wat dun it.

    Yes, Laura Ashley have shamelessly done that very thing

  20. ecofeco Silver badge

    Never work for IBM

    Unless you have no other choice, never work for IBM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never work for IBM

      Absolutley right

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bunch of negative cry babies here

    As a stockholder and long time IBM employee, customer and business partner, can you explain why there is not ONE positive response here? Not one poster suggested how to make your services align with the rapid changes in the market, the developing competitive environment and the accelerated pace of technological improvement. Could not one of you have posted a comment like, "Here is what we need to do to improve the profitability? Improve the services? Align the services with the current shift to micro-services delivered in containers, with block-chain immutability, with cloud, with NVMEoF an all the network and performance improvements it provides, with OBS file system storage for unstructured content storage (IBM COS), wth incremental snapshot recoveries with IBM SP+ and competitors and with TCT (transparent cloud tiering) and with lots more technological and process improvements sweeping the end user data centers today. As for taking shots at sales, remember, no sales, no business. With the attitudes displayed here, we wish you good luck and good riddance. Go back to making leather harness.

    1. theExecutive

      Re: Bunch of negative cry babies here

      India on lockdown now, but you know that :)

    2. 2015ROADKILL

      Re: Bunch of negative cry babies here

      Sales dont make me Laugh ,,,,,Signing Up Vast Company On Promises that IBM Cant deliver just wait till LBG and VF go to the wall same was as COOP Deal has went ended up in the Courts as currently there is no Manpower to run these Deals on the Ground as IBMs Policy is to Cut Heads and Cut Heads and Cut heads ohh wait lets get Agile and we can make this work Not ,Many Hope they get Tuped Out of IBM and not in as its Not a good Place to be and has not been for Past 10 Years or more

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