To satisfy its ambitions in the cloud, IBM could cut a quarter of its workforce in France

by bold-lichterman

The US IT giant IBM, which wants to focus on the “cloud” or cloud computing, plans to separate about a quarter of its workforce in France by 2022, as part of a reorganization global campaign to get rid of less profitable activities, unions say. This social plan provides for the elimination of 1,180 to 1,385 jobs, or about a quarter of the workforce in France and was announced in early November in a European group committee without precise figures for France, according to Unsa and CFE-CGC .

It’s a ” Mixed PSE (job protection plan), which must be officially presented to the trade unions on December 16, with a voluntary departure plan but also probably layoffs if there are not enough volunteers ”, explained to AFP Pierry Poquet, central union delegate Unsa (first union). The CFE-CGC (2nd), which confirms this information, called on Wednesday in a press release the new president of IBM France Béatrice Kosowsky in order to “ ask for guarantees in the face of the scale of restructuring ”.

“It’s a global strategy. We have no vision of what IBM will offer tomorrow for France. It is as if, having arrived at a period when part of her skills are obsolete in relation to the current digital revolution (Big Data, artificial intelligence, 5G, etc.), she is getting rid of a generation which she does not know how to use the potential “, estimated Franck Setruk, central union delegate CFE-CGC, to AFP. These job cuts are part of a global restructuring of IBM that affects “More than 20% of the workforce in Europe, or 7,700 people”, according to Unsa, “Up to 25%, or more like 10,000”, according to the CFE-CGC.

Asked by AFP, the management of IBM France indicated that its ” personnel decisions were made in order to provide the best support to [ses] customers in adopting an open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities ”. “We also continue to make significant investments in the training and skills development of IBMers in order to best meet the needs of our customers”, she assured without further clarification.

A split ” by the end of 2021 “

This reduction of nearly a quarter of the workforce in France will take place “Before the major reorganization announced by Arwind Krishna, CEO of IBM Corp., regarding the split of IBM into two separate companies by the end of 2021”, underlines the CFE-CGC. Which could lead to “(Total) reduction of nearly 50% of the 5,000 current IBM France workforce”, with ” a transfer of a little over a thousand additional positions in France to the new structure ”, according to Mr. Setruk. IBM announced in early October that it was splitting its infrastructure management activities into a listed company to focus on the “cloud”.

The new company will bring together the hosting and management activities of services and infrastructures which, according to IBM, have an order book of 60 billion dollars. The American giant is banking on companies’ appetite for the cloud, and in particular the hybrid cloud, a mixture of “private” (own servers) and “public” clouds (servers from a supplier like Amazon or Microsoft, the leaders in the sector ). ” These two operations (restructuring and split, Editor’s note) are added. The numbers are such that it will be difficult to stay in volunteering. Are we going to be able to continue to honor our customers? Who will be their future interlocutors? Will there be development opportunities? We fear that the only logic is to reduce salary costs “, emphasizes Mr. Setruk.

For Mr. Poquet (Unsa), “It’s a change in strategy: IBM is separating itself from all outsourcing, getting rid of old jobs and older employees (employees over 50 are the majority in France, Editor’s note) to focus on the new (cloud, artificial intelligence) with fewer people, younger ”. IBM employs 400,000 people worldwide. It generated $ 17.56 billion in revenue in the third quarter, up from $ 18 billion last year, down 2.6%, but posted net profit edging up 1.8% to 1.7 billion.