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Staffers who were refused salary increases because they railed against changes to pensions were told they are able to claim damages in a ruling set out recently.
The case is related to Project Waltz, implemented in 2009 to help Big Blue achieve its 2010 targets for earnings per share and slash costs, which saw 25 per cent of UK staff booted off the final salary pension scheme.
A ruling last year stated IBM breached its duties by offering workers the option of signing the non-pensionability agreement or receiving no future pay rises.
Selected reader comments follow:
It's outrageous the way some companies treat retirees who worked all their lives to earn their pensions and then have some unscrupulous company use bankruptcy or other bogus claim to deprive these people of their due retirement or to retaliate against those who protest unfair treatment in the work place. The CEOs and some of the other execs at these companies who are reaping millions in annual compensation, should spend five or more years in the slammer and be fined five years salary so they understand they did wrong.
They didn't even outsource from the US pool; certain subcontinent types were brought in and rotated out on a monthly basis. No continuity of development or anything else. It's still pretty pathetic over in that area as by contract, we're not allowed to bring in more than "a few" permanent staff. I suspect that once this contract is over, IBM will be out the door.
Pros: Good training courses in the first half of the year. Exceptional co-workers. Big ticket clients and projects. Career opportunities for graduates are great if you don't mind getting underpaid for years.
Cons: Round after round of redundancies while they are battling to restructure and embed their new strategy. Current morale is very very low. EXTREME focus on billable utilisation hours with push for 110%+ utilisation (reflected in performance metrics). Experienced (and hence more expensive) consultants are the first to be made redundant leaving an inexperienced workforce. Pays well under market rates for specialised consultants.
Advice to Senior Management: Enough redundancies! The depth of knowledge in the consulting business is being drained.
Pros: Decent pay, good vacation and benefits, great work/life balance. Your peers are generally friendly and competent, but the best people are leaving and nepotism is rampant. Which brings me to...
Cons: If you're being recruited to IBM Design, you'll probably be told about all sorts of amazing projects you can work on at IBM. You will be wined and dined and told how you are going to be part of a major movement to bring design to the forefront of this formerly iconic company.
If you accept their offer, you will participate in a 3 month long Design Camp which is supposed to prepare you for working in one of the big projects at IBM.
At the end of Design Camp comes "Deployment," which reminded me a lot of the sorting hat scene from Harry Potter. Basically, the senior leadership locks themselves in a room for a week and secretly decide your fate (I kid you not, they even put big pieces of paper over the windows so nobody can see what's going on inside).
At the end of it all, they read off people's names and which projects they are being deployed to as part of a big public event. You have NO input on where you will be placed and, unless you are really good at sucking up to the leadership, most people get put on horribly dysfunctional teams working on boring projects they certainly didn't mention when they were recruiting you.
Once you are on a project it is virtually impossible to leave before you've put in a full year at the company. At that point, people are faced with the choice of schmoozing their way into a better project or leaving IBM altogether (I chose the latter and could not be happier).
IBM Design, which was started with the goal of changing the culture at IBM, is really just a microcosm of what's wrong with the company in general:
The only "culture" being created at IBM Design is one of sycophants and charlatans.
Advice to Senior Management: If you believe even half the things you say, then I have little advice for you.
Pros: Some of the best people I have ever worked with — smart, savvy, helpful, and driven to excellence. The people (at the project/worker bee level) are just awesome. First line managers are almost all good. Upper management — meh — not so impressed.
Cons: Utilization is a god — and the targets are usually insanely high. If your vacation or sickness, holidays or training drop you below the target, you are expected to make it up out of your own time — which means vacations are not the time away you wish.
Plan on finding your won projects after you have been there a while. And hope sales and marketing have sold enough contracts to keep you busy. You miss your target, you can pretty much plan on leaving IBM.
A lot of RAs (Resource Actions — layoffs to other folks). They are past cutting the fat, they are cutting into the muscle and bone. I spoke to one manager — he had 3 contracts to staff, no one to staff them with, no one on the bench, no bench expected in less than a month, and they had just laid off some of his people.
Pay/promotions — well last few years have been sparse for a lot of people (unless you are a superstar, or in a large office and know all the bigwigs). Me — I am remote, no raise in 9 years, no promotions — ever (over 15 years).
Bean counters seem to be in charge, and they don't care about people, only trying to get the money.
Still for starting out, it isn't bad. You get to meet some incredibly amazing people, learn lots of team and technical skills, and it looks great on your resume. Just be aware, and know when it is time for you to move on.
Advice to Senior Management: Start cutting your own fat — instead of the people who do the work for you. Telling "all hands" to work harder, bill more, and letting everyone know how awesome you are is not going to keep working. I have met too many upper level managers who couldn't do the job their people are doing — but who are willing to cut those people.
Pros: There are a lot of opportunities; they are moving or have moved into the critical IT fields, cloud, mobility, big data analytics, security, networking.
Cons: Very cost conscious; most employees have not seen raises, bonuses in years.
Advice to Senior Management: To retain employees, you have to compensate employees for their efforts.
Pros: You are surrounded by good people. You are treated well and in a respectful way.
Advice to Senior Management: Resign.
Pros: Still unbelievable resources, breadth of scope and fantastic people on the lower levels that not many companies can match, no matter how much they talk about it.
Cons: Need to change the name to ISS, International Support and Services, because it is barely a Business Machines business any longer. And I don't know any other company that would see the kind of results they have seen for the past 12-13 quarters and continue with the "leadership" that is basically destroying one of the great success stories of the past 100 years.
Advice to Senior Management: You can name a machine Watson and still not have one clue what stood behind that name. Try reading and memorizing A Business and It's Beliefs for a refresher on what IBM used to be.
Pros: They give a very good salary, great benefits. The pace of the work is usually not very hectic. On the campus, the dress code is very lax.
Cons: The leadership is messed up with too many managers in a matrixed environment. People are treated as dry resources as objects, rather than as humans.
Advice to Senior Management: Treat people as humans, not just as "resources" to be deployed to tasks/assignments. People are more than just resources, and only treating them well will motivate them.
Pros: Work/life balance. It is a good company for retired people or ladies who want part time work.
Cons: You get to learn nothing. Literally nothing! I am one of the frustrated engineers working in IBM and neither do I get a work where I can learn something and grow nor do I get any salary hike. So basically I am getting nothing out of this place. Also you are supposed to work day and night on support work where you have to create reports for your seniors and be a part of politics.
There are some managers who even extend probation of their employees for 6 months and expect them to work whole-heart. When time comes for promotion, they give average rating. For onsite opportunities, you need to lick their boots; doesn't matter how much you know them. Yes, welcome to IBM GBS!
Advice to Senior Management: Please sir/madam, instead of talking manipulatively all the time on issues raised by people working UNDER you, kindly think logically and be concerned about their problems.
Pros: Flexible hours (if and only if your manager allows them).
Cons: Not known for high salary ranges, except maybe if you're in sales. GTS has terrible work environment. Everyone is stretched to the limit, paid badly and people do not really care about their colleagues. If you like to work at a place where people are friendly don't join GTS. If you're stuck with a bad manager on top of all this, your life will be miserable.
Advice to Senior Management: Your focus on cutting costs and removing all benefits is going to lose you all experienced employees. It is ridiculous that employees need to predict a month in advance that they will need to work late and get approvals before they can take a taxi home (even if it is past midnight!). Employee morale is low and people are quitting. Maybe for once you should focus on employees and not only on shareholders!
Pros: Well educated workforce. Most employees work from their home. Autonomy. Starting salary. Opportunity to change departments. Negotiate for your salary upfront during the hiring process as that is when you have the best leverage and power to negotiate. Salary ranges at IBM are huge.
Advice to Senior Management:
Pros" Talented employees, very interesting projects and clients, competitive salaries but nothing more. Extremely smart people work there but are sometimes hard to find.
Cons: Doesn't value the employee. Will extract as much as possible from the employee without much appreciation for their hard work or dedication. Very difficult to change a company as large as this. They know they are lagging behind and are trying to remain competitive but are failing under current leadership.
Advice to Senior Management: Invest more in the employees. Show that you appreciate them and all that they give to the company. In turn, the quality of work will be higher and turnover lower.
Advice to Senior Management:
Pros: There was nothing positive I can offer.
Cons: Day one on the job there was no orientation to get you acclimated to the environment. Team lead was a contractor and provided no leadership. The permanent employees didn't share information to assist you in performing your job functions and they were pretty disgruntled with the work load. In short, this is a sweat shop.
Advice to Senior Management: Welcome new employees with information so they won't feel overwhelmed. Provide team members with someone to shadow, walk them through the process, show them how to perform their duties and meet their objectives.
This pay package is up from nearly $14 million she made in 2013. That was the year that IBM stumbled and she and her senior staff voluntarily turned down the money known as the "non-equity incentive plan compensation." Most of her pay came from $11.7 million in stock grants.
IBM has already given her a raise for 2015. Her base salary has been boosted by $100,000 to $1.6 million, and she'll get $13.3 million in restricted stock units. And she's eligible for a bigger $5 million bonus in 2015. Join the union to put a stop to this greed and corruption. -ANA-
By the way, I still haven't received my severance payment. I'm due 24 weeks of pay. My last day on payroll was 2/27. My now former manager doesn't respond to messages I leave for him, and no response from the RA Project Office either. Anybody else running into issues collecting their severance? -GinniOnlyCaresAboutEPS-
Alliance Reply: The government will not "step in and regulate" employment practices, on the employee's behalf. Why? Because IBM is not unionized in the US, and all IBM employees in the USA are considered "At Will Employees". And, if your IBM location is in a "Right To Work" state, i.e. Georgia, then the government of the state of Georgia has already "stepped in" on behalf of your employer and any other company that resides in Georgia. Essentially, labor laws have been changed and skewed in favor of employers and NOT in favor of employees or workers.
The best advice that you can get is to join Alliance@IBM and fight for a union contract. Organize, and become publicly recognized as a worker that believes in a collective employment contract for IBM workers across the entire USA. Get busy fighting for your job, or get busy losing your job.
The Alliance repeatedly says "at will employee" means you have no rights, but that is not entirely true. You do have rights in theory, but they are no longer enforced.
Companies are not supposed to be allowed to hire H1-Bs unless they cannot find Americans to do the job, thus in theory they should be the last hired and first fired, but it's hard to find any Americans working in IBM engineering anymore. -Anonymous-
Alliance reply: A union could monitor the use of h1b and L1 visa workers.
Alliance reply: The Alliance also sent in a statement to the committee. Here it is:
"On January 28, 2015 IBM embarked on another of its regular "resource actions" or job cuts at sites and divisions around the US. This has been almost a quarterly experience for IBM employees. One of the biggest drivers of the job cuts is off shoring and bringing in guest workers from other countries. In fact even while the recent job cuts in the US were taking place, IBM was bringing in 900 guest workers from India to take over US jobs.
In February, workers at IBM Dubuque lost their jobs as their work was off shored to India. These tech workers are now in the unemployment line as Congress seeks to increase the use of guest workers by US corporations. This is outrageous and needs to cease. No US tech worker should be in the unemployment line while tech jobs are filled with guest workers.
In order to have a viable economy for American workers, the replacement of US information technology workers by guest workers from other countries must cease. Furthermore no company doing business in the US should be allowed to hire guest workers while terminating US workers. It is up to Congress to make sure American workers working in their own country are not penalized and discriminated against by companies seeking to replace them with low cost, "indentured" guest workers. It is time for Congress to look to protect the interests of US workers."
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