IBM to axe thousands in move to cheap overseas labour

IBM is planning to axe thousands of jobs in Britain, Germany and Ireland as part of a broader move to shift much of its workforce to cheaper outlets in eastern Europe, China, India and South America, the Observer  says it has learned.

'We expect many job cuts in Ireland, Germany and the UK in the coming months,' it quoted Lee Conrad, national co-ordinator for [email protected], saying. [email protected] represents the interests of IBM workers in the US.

IBM employs 20,000 workers in the UK and 21,000 in Germany, according to the article. 'The jobs have already started going in western Europe,' Conrad reportedly said, and there will be many more in the months ahead. 'They are being reassigned to eastern Europe, India and China.'

IBM workers in India earn an average $5,000 a year, compared with between $50,000 and $80,000 for a similar job in the US.

The expected European job cuts come on top of 5,000 recent layoffs at IBM in America. The US cuts brought the total number of redundancies on IBM's home turf to around 9,600 for the first three months of the year.

The layoffs come at a contentious time for IBM, which is in the running to receive billions of dollars worth of stimulus money from the US government.