Updated Jul. 1, 2014 at 8:09 a.m.

Fed up IBMers protest in France over working conditions

Published: 2014-07-01 07:57:00
Updated: 2014-07-01 08:09:34

For the second time this year, IBM (NYSE: IBM) faces a rebellion by workers.

This time, the strike is taking place in France where IBMers are protesting job cuts that they say "have deeply damaged working conditions." Some workers are refusing to respond to work demands when off duty or on call.

Five unions back IBM protest in FranceIBM's proposed x86 server sale to Lenovo triggered a March strike in China.

But don't hold your breath that a walkout might occur in the U.S.

Despite thousands of job cuts and offshoring of jobs that have slashed the size of IBM's work force in the U.S. to well under 100,000 (and in North Carolina by more than 30 percent to well under 10,000), unionizing efforts have not been able to generate enough interest to even ignite a vote. 

Recent WRAL TechWire coverage of IBM protests:

Not so in France, where Technical Support Services employees backed by five unions walked off their jobs last week.

On Monday, workers voted to continue the strike after what they say were strike-busting efforts by IBM. The unions claim IBM brought in "Belgian, Romanian and British employees" to fill service gaps created by the protest.

The Technical Support Services group includes maintenance, planning, support and operations

"Client interventions and operations outside of business hours, as well as on-call duties are no longer carried out," the unions said. 

They action will continue until IBM "agrees to come back to the negotiating table."

The workers involved want:

  • Higher wages
  • A revision of on-call agreements
  • Improvements in working conditions

According to the unions, IBM has cut more than 10 percent of its work force, or 1,000 jobs, in France over the past two years. 

By the way, the unions say the workers "organized the nation-wide movement on their own."

[IBM ARCHIVE: Check out more than a decade of IBM stories as reported in WRAL TechWire.]




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