Last year July, TODAY reported that “hundreds of IBM Singapore employees” were laid off as part of the tech giant’s global restructuring activities.
At least 200 staff were being laid off at that time and there were approximately 400 to 600 staff working at the Tampines plant, according to the people who worked at IBM.
This year, the entire IBM Singapore Technology Park will be shut down, as the last batch of employees are set to finish serving their notice by July this year.
Some staff and subcontractors told TODAY that “at least 70 percent” of the employees will leave by the end of April.
Staff were informed of the closure and their retrenchment in early March.
This move comes as the US firm relocates the manufacturing of its mainframe computers, IBM Z, to Poughkeepsie, New York, IBM said in an email response to TODAY.
“Poughkeepsie already manufactures IBM Z, thus it already has the required skills, procedures, tools and manufacturing expertise,” IBM said.
In the first few rounds of retrenchment exercises that happened last year, IBM said that it was moving its manufacturing of its Power Systems product to a facility in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Several news in 2018 reports stated that IBM had intended to cut 10,000 staff from its global workforce and “re-assign another 30,000 to new roles” as part of its restructuring of its global technology services division.
IBM declined to share the number of layoffs in Singapore.
According to TODAY, IBM raked in a profit of about US$8.7 billion (S$11.8 billion) in 2018, about a 52% increase from 2017.
After five consecutive quarters of revenue growth of IBM Z since launching its z14 microprocessor in mid-2017, IBM Z’s revenue dropped 44% in its Q4 earnings results compared with the same period a year ago.
Remuneration And Support
As compensation, affected IBM employees will receive one month of salary for each year of service; workers under IBM’s subcontractor Geodis will get two weeks of salary for each year of service.
Companies are recommended by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to pay between two weeks and one month’s salary for each year of service, depending on the industry and company’s financial position, as retrenchment benefits.
According to TODAY, a spokesperson from MOM’s Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation said that it was notified of IBM’s retrenchment exercise.
Workforce Singapore and NTUC’s Employment and Employability INstitute (e2i) will offer support to retrenched workers through the Adapt & Grow initiative.
The United Workers of Electronics and Electrical Industries had also been notified by IBM about the layoffs and is working with the firm and e2i to help retrenched staff.
The S$90-million IBM Singapore Technology Park located at Tampines was opened in 2010 in an inauguration ceremony that was graced by then Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
IBM shared with TODAY that it there are “no decisions” made yet on their plans for the 365,000 sqf. facility that it leased from industrial property developer JTC.
The IBM Watson Centre, its management, software, blockchain, and other services organisations in Singapore will not be affected as Singapore remains a “strategic location” for the New York-based firm.