Last May 28th, employees from IBM Argentina were on strike as announced on weeks past. The reasons were based on the claim of wages in accordance to inflation rates, work stability and the cease of embezzlement performed by the managerial sphere.
The strike sorted out by Unión Informática was successfully accomplished overcoming all forecast estimated by the Union Internal Committee. About an 80% of the total workforce joined the strike paralyzing IBM.
Workers, forced to walkout due to the lack of a policy to turn wages up to date with inflation rates and the mass layoff that IBM has been executing on the last years (45% of the workforce since 2009), paralyzed the Big Blue.
In parallel, Unión Informática protested before IBM Martínez plant and IBM Catalinas headquarters. Afterwards, the protest was moved to the Ministry of Labor condemning its inactivity in the face of the massive layoffs and the personnel reduction across there years.
IBM employees disobeyed the threats performed through the managers and team leads, via an official press labeling the strike as ‘ilegal’.
No one trusts IBM’s false promises and the severity of the situation obliges employees to react. Company threats about the ‘illegality’ of the strike had a null effect on the overall workforce.
Beyond IBM’s attempts to terrorize its employees, the strike collapsed the systems.
The strike at IBM Martínez
At about 7:30 AM, Unión Informática made its move jointly with colleagues of sympathized trade unions, members of the recently consolidated CGT North Region, hoping to convince unsure employees to join the strike.
However, NO ONE ARRIVED TO WORK. At 11:00 AM, the scene inside the building was overwhelming: only managers and security staff were around.
It seems to be that all the systems and services were jammed due to the absence of employees. Meanwhile, Unión Informática members outside were amazed at the solidarity of the employees.
The strike at IBM Olivos
At the Olivos site, the picture was a little bit different, but the strike effect still hit hard. Olivos I & II buildings were almost empty, and as per reported by the few people there, due to the company threats.
At the same time, in Olivos III the effect was devastating: the security staff said that less than 40% of the people arrived to work.
On-site technicians joined the strike, and also denounced retaliation from the managerial staff.
Strike on IBM Catalinas: the protest
Adherence from office staff at the headquarters was not as the same as in the sites: it’s not surprising specially do to the fact t of their proximity to the managerial staff located at that site.
Later in the afternoon, under a heavy rain, Unión Informática protested in front the police fences surrounding the building accesses. It would appear that managers are for some reason really afraid of employees meetings.
The police tried to help by requesting the presence of an IBM representative, however they were also denied to have the chance of a dialogue.
Meeting with the Ministry of Labor
After protesting in front of IBM Catalinas HQ, Union Informatica marched once more. This time, towards the Ministry of Labor building, where it was requested to have an immediate appointment with the authorities to discuss about the situation of the IT employees across the market and the mass layoffs at IBM.
Fortunately, the meeting took place between staff of labor affairs and the directive counsel of the union: conversations were around the alarming situation of information systems professionals in Argentina, companies abuse over them, the lack of response from minister Carlos Tomada and the mass layoffs at IBM.
There was an agreement to investigate along the exposed affairs, ending the protest around IBM situation.
Impact of the strike
Unión Informática is still receiving information about the impact of the strike. In parallel, it’s being analysed whether future actions will be taken in case IBM takes no actions to improve its employees situation.