Massive layoff at IBM Argentina

As anticipated by Unión Informática, IBM Argentina laid off about 200 employees this week. The multinational corporation keeps on reducing the staff without any justification, at the same time a salary freeze has been imposed and kept for the last four years.

IBM Argentina reduced again its already diminished staff this week, laying off without any justification close to 200 employees within the framework of a vast staff reduction plan. It’s expected to include more than a thousand workers in the next few months. 200 IBM employees were blocked from entering the buildings to work on their daily tasks, prompting confusion and anger not only to the affected individuals, but to their co-workers too, who were outraged by the situation.

Those layoffs, made arbitrarily and without any kind of notice, affected workers from «IBM Olivos» offices mostly, and were made without relying on the company’s discredited assessment methods or employee’s seniority. Most workers were shocked by the news, some of them were even considered «model employees» and did get very good scores. Others complained about the tactless way their managers proceeded, given that they didn’t reply any attempt of communication.

Employees’ Exodus

Salaries are frozen since 2008, and annual porcentual wage adjustments in the last few years are under the digit. The average employee doesn’t earn more than a gross income of $5,000. Since 2010, overwhelmed by the situation, thousands of employees left the company without being replaced, reducing the staff by 3,000 people in just two years. IBM recently closed their «Uzal» and «Urquiza» buildings, located in Vincente López district, while is still planning to close its «Óptima» building. Also, there’s a lot of empty space in their Olivos and Martínez offices. In the renowned «IBM Catalinas» building the company only makes use of a few floors, since the rest belong other companies’ offices.

Taking a look into the company’s payroll, Unión Informatica currently estimates less than 6,000 employees in IBM Argentina, despite the efforts from the company to pretend to have more than 9,000, like they did in 2010. Evidently, the corporation make efforts to show that it’s holding on the employment levels in front of its competition and the government.  Now, it’s also laying off people to carry out its plan of reducing the staff.

Software in Argentina: ¿lack of competitiveness?

Given the quality of human resources, low costs and support from the national government, the often praised local IT industry has suffered blows in the last few months that evidence a notorious job positions reduction. Symantec’s offices closure can be added to the current IBM’s situation, since they left only a sales office in the country, just like Verizon Argentina. Also, there’s reduction or plain dismantling of small and mid-sized argentinean software companies.

However, it remains to be asked if this is exclusively due to a lack of competitiveness. With years-long frozen wages and barely reaching the $5000 in average, low reinvestment of profits, a Software Industry Promotion law that, among other things, reduces to 40% the employer’s contribution (plus other tax exemptions), and frequent statements from companies’ PR departments praising the high quality of local human resources,  those actions reveal bad faith in their proceedings, and their intention to maximize profits declaring a lack of competitiveness that has no relation whatsoever with their already huge earnings.

Unión Informática action in IBM

Unión Informatica doesn’t rule out the possibility of taking action on the company, not only asking for an explanation on the layoffs, but also to protect job positions -as stated above, we’re expecting more masive layoffs in the next following months- , and in response to the absurd situation of trained IT employees working for a multinational company who doesn’t earn more than $5,000 gross.

Legal assistance for laid-off employees

What you have to do when being fired? Above all, you need to ask a labor lawyer for legal assistance. Because of that, Unión Informática will offer free legal assistance to whoever request it, today at 6 PM in Belgrano 126, Local 35, San Isidro. Unión Informática has legal support from Consultora Jurídico-Sindical 17 de Octubre, which also grants legal assistance to C.G.T. (Argentina’s biggest trade federation).

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