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IBM trims PC, sales staff
Big Blue says job actions are part of 'routine evaluations' of skills
July 11, 2001: 2:32 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp., which confirmed last week it was laying off nearly 1,500 workers in its global services unit, is letting other employees go in its personal computer business and its sales and distribution operation, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The job cuts at the world's largest computer maker were part of routine evaluation of workers' skills, spokesman John Bukovinsky said.
"It's a skills re-balancing we do on a consistent basis, year after year," he said. "The most significant fact is that we expect our employee population to be higher this year."
The Armonk, N.Y., company said last week it was cutting nearly 1 percent of the 150,000 workers in global services. It had added 10,000 workers in that unit in the first five months of this year.
At the beginning of 2001, IBM had a total of 316,303 employees.
"There are limited actions in certain units -- services, PCs -- and there are some folks in sales and distribution," Bukovinsky said. "It's a little different than other companies saying they are laying off people."
Other computer makers, such as Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell Computer Corp., have slashed jobs to shore up profits amid sluggish sales throughout the computer industry.
A Web site of Alliance at IBM, a unit of the Communications Workers of America union, said sales and distribution employees in many locations "have just been notified of 30 days until termination."
"We're hearing of sales and distribution cuts, about 540," said Lee Conrad, national organizer for Alliance at IBM and a former IBM employee. "I think this is just the tip of the iceberg."
Bukovinsky said he couldn't confirm the sales and distribution number, adding that it is difficult to pinpoint a total number as any layoffs are occurring on a unit-by-unit basis.
"The only thing I'm aware of is 150 people out of the PC business," he said, "It's unit-by-unit as they see fit."
The largest Hungarian unit of IBM cut staff by 500, to a total of 5,500, a local paper reported last week.
"Those 500 workers were contractors," Bukovinsky said.
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