IBM confirms job layoffs, won't say how many

Although he wouldn't specify where or how many, an IBM spokesperson today confirmed to Betanews that IBM is sending out pink slips this week. An IBM employee union known as Alliance@IBM is predicting 16,000 job cuts.

On the Alliance Web site, IBM employees reported yesterday that the layoffs are already happening in IBM software and distribution divisions in the US and Canada.

"I won't comment on the number" of job layoffs, replied Doug Shelton, an IBM spokesperson, when Betanews reached him by phone today. "But there have been some notifications," he went on, adding that layoff notices have gone out this week.

The jobs are being cut despite IBM's announcement on Tuesday of a 12 percent rise in fourth quarter earnings.

"We got hit today...10% of the group got let go...and after record quarter and record year," says one post to the Alliance Web site, put up soon after IBM's financial results were reported.

"28 out of 45 cut," according to a another entry, from Austin, Texas. "Young and old, top and bottom performers. Never show me great 4Q numbers again."

But Shelton suggested today that job layoffs are always a possibility at IBM, citing a perceived requirement to stay "flexible" to the market.

"IBM continuously evaluates its mix of skills and resources and makes changes as needed" to skills and resources, Shelton told Betanews. "We constantly assess our clients' needs. We need to be in a position to have some flexibility to the changes in the needs" of the company's clients.

Earlier in the week, an IBM spokesperson reportedly declined comment to The Wall Street Journal about the then-rumored layoffs.

In a statement issued on Monday, Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance, urged IBM "not to go forward with a new round of job cuts and to stop the off-shoring of US workers' jobs."

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