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IBM staff in the UK face widescale redundancies

Nick Huber
Up to 600 consultants working for IBM in the UK may be laid off next week as part of a worldwide restructuring drive by the IT services giant, union leaders have warned.

IBM is currently seeking voluntary redundancies from its UK staff as part of a consultation period that is due to end next Monday. The exact number of redundancies sought by IBM is disputed, although it claims the number is fewer than 1,000.

The job losses provide further evidence of the continued slump in the IT consultancy market. During the past year leading companies in the market, including PricewatershouseCoopers and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, have laid off consultancy staff.

IBM this week said it hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies but a spokeswoman added that it would not know the details of any package until the consultation closes.

However, union leaders fear that there could be as many as 600 compulsory redundancies at IBM in the UK. This figure is based on their estimates that there have only been about 400 volunteers for redundancy.

The job losses are understood to affect two main IBM divisions in the UK: strategic outsourcing and service delivery, and business intelligence services.

IBM announced plans for worldwide job cuts in April. The job cuts are a bid to "rebalance" skills in the workforce, a spokeswoman said.

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