This is not his first social conflict and, however, this time, Serge Kerloc’h cannot get over it. ” This is unheard of “, launches trade unionist CGT, an IBM employee in Nice. This Wednesday, it is also in front of the doors of his company that the intersyndicale (CGT-CFDT-CFTC-Unsa) calls for mobilization. At the heart of the anger of employees, the new restructuring plan concocted by the US management of the multinational and rolled out around the world. For the French sector alone, it is “The elimination of 40% to 50% of the workforce in the third quarter of 2021” which is at stake. Nearly 2,000 employees are threatened.
If the end of the plan is itself a social disaster, the strategy that management has implemented to achieve it is just as outrageous. “They have chosen to carry out two different restructurings simultaneously, details Serge Kerloc’h. First, a social plan of 1,250 jobs and, at the same time, the transfer of a thousand employees to a new company created ex nihilo. “ This new entity, NewCo, will first be a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM, before becoming independent within twelve to fifteen months. “We don’t know anything about this company, which does not yet exist. The only thing that is certain is that it will be assigned the outsourcing activities (business services – Editor’s note) ”, explains Marc Salis, from Unsa IBM. And what is also certain is that NewCo will no longer depend on the collective agreement for metallurgy like IBM, but on that applicable to technical design offices, consulting engineering firms and consulting companies, the Syntec convention, much less protective.
The strategy is to keep only artificial intelligence
José Sainz would almost laugh if it weren’t so tragic. “Since 1998 and the great wave of outsourcing of manufacturing (computer manufacturing – Editor’s note) in Asia, we had not known such a plan”, remembers this maintenance technician, hired at IBM thirty-four years ago and representative of the CGT at the central CSE. “This new company, NewCo, should eventually recover 100,000 employees out of the 300,000 that the group has worldwide. IBM’s strategy is to keep only artificial intelligence, which is very profitable and with a portfolio of large customers, and to separate from service to companies, its old-fashioned business, which is in decline everywhere in the world “, notes the trade unionist. And yet “IBM sets a goal of constant growth for its new subsidiary,” continues José Sainz, “Which is impossible under current market conditions”. No need to look for noon to 2 p.m., the equation, for Marc Salis, is quickly resolved: “When we operate this kind of large-scale transfer, it’s to fire everyone”, concludes the trade unionist. At 57, he is one of those “transferable” employees, too young to benefit from the early retirement plan. Employees who will lose enormously by changing the collective agreement office. ” The compensation package for our technical on-call duty will be divided by three and our weekend interventions will be reduced… In all, the employees who move from IBM to NewCo will lose 30% of their compensation ”, assures Marc Salis.
And, in the end, “In the next twelve to fifteen months, NewCo employees will be threatened with a low cost social plan”, warns Frédéric Michelis, CFDT representative at the central CSE. Because, “By leading the PSE and the creation of NewCo head-on, the management knowingly telescopes the timetables. Thus, outsourcing employees who would be candidates at the start – or, if applicable, laid off – risk being transferred to NewCo before the end of the PES negotiations. Their departure will therefore be recorded in the new entity, managed by the Syntec agreement, which provides for half as much severance pay as that of metallurgy “, explains José Sainz.
A strategy that exasperates Serge Kerloc’h. “We are facing an attempt to completely dismantle”, annoys the Cégétiste, who recalls that the social plan has no economic justification:“IBM’s 2020 results are better than the two previous years, the company pays 4 billion dollars in dividends per year and receives, in France, 20 million euros per year in research tax credit (CIR) and 4 million euros. euros from Cice. ”