Tag: union

IBM has busted the unions

Pinkerton_escorts_hocking_valley_lesliesAfter years of trying to drag IBM kicking and screaming into the 19th century world of collective bargaining,  theAlliance@IBM has given up.

Formed in 1999 to turn IBM into a union shop, theAlliance@IBM, a Communications Workers of America local has announced that the men in suits are too tough and it is “suspending” its organising efforts.

Basically Big Blue has shrunk so much that  theAlliance@IBM does not have the members to pull off any serious action.

The group came close when it had 400 g members at its peak, now it has about 200.

But the whole thing was not a failure. The Alliance became a key source of public information for employees and the news media about job cuts, benefit changes and restructuring actions by the tech giant.

So while it only had 200 members it was the only source of information on job cuts for the rest of staff. During a job layoff, the number of website visitors could reach 140,000 or more.

Employees shared with the Alliance documents and knowledge about the firm’s restructuring activities.

In the mid-1980s, IBM employed some 230,000 in the US. The Alliance estimates that the number of US workers is now about 71,000. IBM stopped disclosing its US-specific headcount about five years ago. IBM is believed to have more employees in India than in the US.

The Facebook page will remain active, and there are plans to build a new website. The existing website will remain up but will not be updated.

French open source company met its Waterloo

battle-war-soldiers-1812-russian-frenchThe French open s
aucy pioneer Mandriva was sunk by the antics of the French unions according to its former boss Jean-Manuel Croset.

Mandriva offered a Linux operating system for PCs that was doing well in some developing nations and the company was just about to make a profit when it was sunk by employee lawsuits forced it into bankruptcy.

The company had generated a mere €553,000 in revenue in 2013, with revenue falling for years,. Croset confirmed that wasn’t enough revenue, so he had to dismiss some sales staff.

Revenues started to climb again when the laid-off workers sued the company and won.

The company was ordered to pay these employees hundreds of thousands of euros and ordered to pay “provisory execution,” meaning immediately, even though the appeals process was not complete, Croset tells us.

After so many years of struggle, the shareholders didn’t want to put up more money to save Mandriva, and the company was forced into bankruptcy,

Croset said that the labour laws are very generous towards the employees in France, those court decisions forced the company to announce bankruptcy, as the cash available was not sufficient to cover the amounts due and the shareholders did not want to cover them.

Alcatel-Lucent is stuffed unless it can restructure

As French Alcatel-Lucent staff march on the company Bastille to complain about job cuts, the company boss has warned that the telecoms company could go under.

Alcatel-Lucent has been in the red since 2006 and missed some key technological shifts, its chief executive Michel Combes said.

He wants to slash 10,000 jobs worldwide, including 900 in France, and said that the cuts were Alcatel-Lucent’s last chance to stem years of losses and turn the company around.

Otherwise, he warned, the company could disappear.

Reuters reported how Combes told French lawmakers his plan differed from previous attempts to overhaul Alcatel since 2006 and he pledged to find new jobs for all 900 workers facing layoffs in France.

He said that the company did have a coherent and complete plan which will fix all the problems the company is facing and get it back on its feet.

More than 1,500 Alcatel-Lucent workers marched in Paris on Tuesday to protest against the plan, which involves closing several sites including the Orvault plant in northern France.

The Socialist government has pressed Alcatel-Lucent to limit job cuts and CFDT union leader Herve Lassale said workers would try to extract concessions from Combes.

The government which wants to end years of de-industrialisation and high unemployment, has warned it could use new labour rules to block the plan.

But Combes told lawmakers the firm had little choice but to cut operating costs and consolidate resources around fewer sites  after losing $1.08 billion per year since its merger with US firm Lucent Technologies in 2006.

He said that his plan sets targets that are key to the survival of the company.

Combes took over Alcatel-Lucent in April after being CEO of Vodafone Europe from 2008 to 2012. He abandoned a plan by predecessor Ben Verwaayen that aimed to shut down Alcatel-Lucent’s activities in France. 

IBM union reacts to Rometty's 3,000 job cull

The IBM Employees’ Union claims that since 12 June more than 3,000 US and Canada IBM workers were sacked without the slightest nod from management, and much of the anger is being directed towards new CEO Ginni Rometty.

Both senior and new hires have fallen victim to job culls, according to the statement, with no explanation given. It claims there is a sense of rising anger at IBM towards Rometty and “other executives”.

On the union website, one anonymous worker said entry level staff are cut while “Queen Ginny and Grandpa Sam are in their palace and eat caviar for $10 million each day”.

“IBM promoted great leadership in the last decades,” the anonymous worker said. “The senior leadership team obviously did not attend these leadership classes. Instead they attended the class ‘how to become a perfect coward'”.

The union claims IBM’s leadership “only cares about money” and says the 2015 roadmap saw Rometty neglecting and disrespecting IBM’s greatest asset, its employees.

“There is a growing employee vote of no confidence in the running of the company by CEO Rometty,” the statement reads. “Some say Rometty should be fired”.

The statement concludes: “Do we allow CEO Rometty and others to continue abusing employees or do we fight back? It is your choice”. 

We have approached IBM for comment.

Heretic leaves Apple Walled Garden

After two years of struggle, the bloke who tried to form a union in Apple has decided to leave the outfit.

Kerubs with flaming swords will be placed on the doors to make sure no-one with ideas like Cory Moll ever get in again.

According to Cnet, Cory Moll has been with Apple since 2007 and founded the Apple Retail Workers Union.  Needless to say, Apple did its best to crush such original thinking.

Writing on Twitter he said that he wanted to explore the world.

He said that today will be his last day where he will be clapped out by staff. It is an Apple tradition to give long serving staff members the clap when they leave.

Apple staffers also give early morning customers the clap when they make their way into stores during product launches.

Needless to say – but we’ll say it anyway – Apple’s Messiah Steve Jobs hated the idea of unions. After all that meant that people were going to collectively stand up to him and might not do what he told them.

Moll had some funny ideas too. He wanted to improve conditions for employees at Apple’s retail stores. That included higher pay, more opportunities for promotion, and improvements to scheduling of hours.

Jobs believed that staff looked on their job as a religious duty and that they should consider themselves to be lucky,  handling holy items and selling them to his followers.

Moll was reported that in the two years he had spent trying to establish his union some of those objectives – including better pay for employees have been addressed. But he said that there needed to be advancements certain areas like inside hiring for staff, flexibility and guarantees for working hours.

Some stores in Germany and France have formed unions, or have become a part of local unions in order to negotiate changes. However there is no one replacing Moll in the US. 

Nanotech about to get kicked by unions

While nanotechnology is an industry buzzword, it is starting to look as if it will be opposed by the union movement.

There are already signs in Oz that nanotechnology is going to be the new spinning jenny.

According to the Sydney Morning Heraldunion leader Paul Howes has related nanotechnology to asbestos and called for more research to ease fears the growing use of fine particles could endanger manufacturing workers.

The Australian Workers’ Union national secretary said he did not want to make the mistake that his predecessors made by not worrying about asbestos.

Nanomaterials are used to make products such as non-scratching car wax, some types of paint, lighter sporting equipment, and self-cleaning coatings for glass and building materials.

There is some research taking place to see whether some nanomaterials may harm human health and the environment after a pilot study published in Nature Nanotechnology in 2008 suggested that types of carbon nanotubes may behave like asbestos fibres and cause disease.

Howes was worried nanotechnology could be used to carry carcinogenic particles and believes it needs proper regulation and more research.

He fears that people are making the same mistakes that they did with asbestos which appeared in every workplace and household in Australia.

Everyone thought it was a miracle fibre that could be used for anything and it was going to transform Australia. Unfortunately, it mostly killed you, he said. 

France bans online videos of naughty coppers

The Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris has ordered French ISPs to block access to a website designed to allow civilians to post videos of alleged police misconduct.

Copwatch Nord Paris I-D-F had been getting good traffic as the French started to show video footage of coppers beating people up, or otherwise behaving badly.

Police union, Alliance Police Nationale (APN) has applauded the decision which it said that by showing video footage of French cops being violent, it encouraged citizens to be violent to the police. After all if you know you are going to get a good kicking when you are being arrested you are more likely to try to run away or fight back.

Fighting back is not something that French coppers like much as it makes it harder to hit someone.

According to the Jurist, Jean-Claude Delage, secretary general of the APN, said that the judges have looked at the site as a threat to the integrity of the police and made the right decision.

We guess being staffed by psychopathic bullies who like beating up suspects is not a threat to the integrity of the police.

Jeremie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net a Paris-based net neutrality organisation, called the order “an obvious will by the French government to control and censor citizens’ new online public sphere.” At least that is what our Babelfish made of his comment.

Oddly, for a Republic that inspired the US, France does not have an equivalent to the US First Amendment which prohibits the government from making any law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. But it did have laws which allowed them to cut the heads off anyone they liked. We guess cutting off websites is the next best thing. 

Union to help boost Indian semiconductor market

India’s Union budget plans for 2011 may shed some positive light for the semiconductor sector.

That’s according to sources in the Department of Information Technology, who said that the plans could mean that the threshold limit of investment may come down for setting up semiconductor fabrication plants in India.

They claim that the government is planning to issue a revised budget following
recommendations from various bodies including manufacturers, Indian semiconductor Association (ISA) and Electronic Industries Association of India (ELCINA).

These sectors want to build on the draft of a new Special Incentive Package Scheme (SIPS), which was originally announced by the union government in 2007 and put in place to help raise the Indian semiconductor market, which according to analysts is still trailing behind the likes of China.

He told us: “India is strong on chip development. For example, Intel has an important design centre in Bangalore, but fabrication plants a different matter, compared China and Korea. That is partly down to infrastructure. Intel, for example, has a policy to replicate fabs exactly across the world.  The government has a scheme called Special Economic Zones (SEZ), but these don’t seem to attract semiconductor firms.

“There is a nascent semiconductor industry in Hyderabad, but not on any grand scale. No doubt, the Indian government, like other governments worldwide will offer tax incentives to chip companies.”

If it all goes ahead more investments could be made in semiconductor wafer fabs, as well well as plants that manufacture LCD, OLED, storage devices and solar cells with the help of bigger companies.

Poornima Shenoy, president, ISA, said, “It is not practical for small companies to invest such huge sums. We expect the recommendations given by us in this regard to be considered. The government should come out with an investment-friendly policy to invite foreign companies to come and set up operations in India.”