IBM Firing Spree Starts in India



According to a recent report from Forbes, International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) has begun a slew of massive layoffs in its India operations that have left workers in the country — who are not used to American-style firings — quite upset.

Forbes said that the job cuts have begun at a plant in Bangalore and are expected to spread throughout the country. One worker likened the plant to a “slaughter house” in the wake of the firings. “People broke down after seeing the inhuman treatment,” the person wrote in the Alliance@IBM employees’ union website, per Forbes. “Many employees were seen crying and exiting the building,” the person continued.

Workers at the Systems and Technology Group operations in Bangalore were called into a meeting on Wednesday, where their laptops were taken away and they were asked to leave the building immediately. They were given an average of six weeks worth of pay for their severance packages. Forbes said that it’s not incredibly uncommon for workers in India to be fired, but Indian companies usually don’t engage in the “cut and exit” strategy frequently used in the West, so the layoffs were especially upsetting to the IBM employees who lost their jobs. “You treated Indians like resource widgets. These people are human beings,” said one angry posting by Solidarity4IBMIndia, per Forbes.

Indian paper The Economic Times reports that IBM did not say exactly how many jobs would be cut in India. The company employs approximately 100,000 people in the country, so the layoffs could have a large impact on India. IBM confirmed to the Times that it plans to cut 15,000 jobs globally during its restructuring. The paper’s sources said that 50 employees were fired from the Bangalore plant this week.

This news comes just a day after Reuters reported that IBM’s CEO Ginni Rommety is in China this week in an attempt to convince leaders there that IBM products are not being used by the U.S. government to spy on foreign customers. The NSA scandal that erupted last summer has taken a toll on IBM’s already struggling business. Hardware sales in China have plummeted as the Chinese government has encouraged businesses to avoid using the products and services of American tech companies.

IBM reported its seventh straight quarter of losses last month. The company’s earnings release showed that revenue declined 5.5 percent to $27.7 billion, below the $28.25 billion projected by analysts. Annual revenue was equally grim; coming in at $99.8 billion, sales decreased for the second straight year and failed to surpass $100 billion for the first time since 2010. The dramatic revenue decline forced top executives to give up bonuses this year.

It was reported earlier this month that IBM could go so far as selling its flagship semiconductor chip business as it seeks to depend less on hardware, which has been a consistent drag on the company’s financials.

IBM hasn’t broken down how many jobs it will cut and where, but already began laying off workers in the U.S. last summer. Many more cuts are expected in India as the year progresses.

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