IBM Confirms Job Cuts

A union that is trying to organize workers at IBM is reporting that the company cut more than 2,800 jobs recently, but an IBM spokesman would only confirm that some layoffs have occurred.

IBM eliminated 1,419 positions in its software group and 1,449 sales and distribution jobs, according to the Alliance at IBM/CWA Local 1701's Web site.

The site has been ablaze for weeks with comments from individuals who say they have been laid off or are concerned about their status.

One anonymous post on Tuesday claimed that 200 research jobs were being eliminated, and a number of others said IBM had begun laying off workers at its Burlington, Vermont, facility.

A union spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

IBM began notifying affected employees last week, said spokesman Doug Shelton. He declined to provide any information about the number of employees affected, where they were stationed or the business units involved.

Many tech companies are cutting staff amid the world's persistent economic woes, but IBM also trims jobs on a regular basis, referring to the process as "workforce rebalancing."

The company spent US$700 million on such activities during its fiscal 2008, an increase of about $380 million over 2007, chief financial officer Mark Loughridge said during the company's Jan. 21 fourth-quarter earnings call.

Loughridge also indicated that job cuts were imminent. While the company expects its "rebalancing" spending to be in the usual range of $300 million to $400 million this year, the cutting may be skewed toward the first quarter, he said.

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