IBM (NYSE: IBM) is reducing its work force of more than 430,000 worldwide as part of a $1 billion “rebalancing” program with North America and Western Europe employees taking the biggest hit.

“It appears that the cuts here are the largest by country,” Alliance at IBM’s Lee Conrad tells The Skinny.

But Conrad, who networks with unions around the globe that represent IBM workers as part of the IBM Global Alliance, says his sources are documenting cuts in big numbers in numerous countries. Numerous media reports also are documenting firings, layoffs and “redundancies” – the U.K. term for a laid off employee.

Based in internal documents from the North American “resource action” as IBM calls layoffs, more than 1,600 jobs have been cut in the U.S. and Canada. While Big Blue’s work force has grown in recent years, its U.S. work force has fallen well below 100,000 in recent years, based on information gained from a variety of sources by the Alliance, which is seeking to represent Big Blue workers.

IBM acknowledges the layoffs, and a source familiar with the layoffs says “hundreds” of cuts are underway in North Carolina.

However, the overseas cuts are not small by any means, especially in terms of the percentage of the IBM employee base in each country.

An analyst told Bloomberg on Wednesday that estimates IBM will cut up to 8,000 workers. Based on data so far, the total is rapidly rising toward 4,000.

Here’s what Conrad has been told:

United Kingdom:

“Job cuts are under way – between 14 – 15 percent of U.K. base will be leaving in July. Reports state 270 to be fired.”


“IBM Australia is reportedly set to cut some staff loose as the company’s redundancy program, dubbed Project Mercury, picks up pace.
According to The Australian, the program could see up to 200 jobs cut at IBM Australia.”


“IBM Israel is firing 100 sales and marketing employees out of its workforce of 2,000.”


“IBM has been firing people and giving as reason that these services will be taken to Costa Rica.

So far the number of dismissals is uncertain because IBM Chile gives us no information.

“What we know up to now is that could reach 20 people, also indicate that the area of Unix and Linux will be managed from Costa Rica.


“700 for 2013”


Conrad was told: “In Argentina, in recent years, we have lost more than 2,000 jobs. Many buildings have been closed around the country, and we are nearing a workforce reduction of around 25 percent.”


“689 jobs cut for 2103”


“292 jobs cut”



So far, no cuts have been reported in India, where news reports have said Big Blue employs more people than in any other country.

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