Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Joys of Globalization: Example One

Thanks to, tech bottom line article.

Here's the scoop.

Meet Sam Palmisano, bozo of the month. We diss IBM's CEO for allowing some management numbskull to suggest that the thousands of Big Blue employees who have been fired recently should consider a move to India. And work really cheaply. Always helpful, IBM is willing to pitch in with moving costs and -- in a particularly ironic twist -- visa assistance.

Yeah, it's hard to believe. But IBM put it in writing: "IBM has established Project Match to help you locate potential job opportunities in growth markets where your skills are in demand," IBM says in an internal memo first obtained by InformationWeek. "Should you accept a position in one of these countries, IBM offers financial assistance to offset moving costs, provides immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move."

Yes, friends, this is globalization taken to its logical conclusion.

I always chuckled to myself (because I can only rage so much - not good for my health) when I heard the "experts" on TV boldly saying that globalization will not lower the wages and standard of living in first world countries (like the USA), but will instead raise wages and the standard of living in third world countries.

Lets use (common sense) logic on this one, shall we?

Company One is based in country B, making widgets. However, in country B, the executives of company A have discovered a few interesting facts:

Country B has no environmental laws, which will save the company a lot of money due to the factory spreading poison (while killing a few citizens of country B - a lamentable, but ultimately not important, side issue).

Country B's payscale is 10 times less than Country A's.

Country B has no labor laws (incidentally, something which big business is hard at work to replicate in the USofA, bringing back the glorious child worker era of the 1880's).

So, of course, Company One will move its production facilities to Country B, laying off its American err, sorry, Country A workers; the executives of the company will give huge bonuses to themselves - it's a win-win, for all parties - Country A, Country B, Company One and the employees on both sides of the border, right?

Big. Sigh.

What this piece of shit Palmisano guy did is brilliant in its evilness.

You see, employees at IBM have severance pay in their contracts, as well as the pesky unemployment expense.

So, to get rid of these "problems", the IBM executives have simply told their employees "go to India, or somewhere else in the third world where people shit on the street and you cannot drink the water, and take a 2/3 or 3/4 paycut to your salary, and everybody is happy!".

And if the IBM employee outright refuses this fantastic offer of moving to some Indian shithole and taking a 2/3 salary paycut?

Why, then he is not laid off - he simply does not want to work for IBM anymore (no need for severance, and cannot apply for unemployment as he quit the job voluntarily).


Oh, and one more thing, before I forget.

From the article:
Did I mention this came at the same time IBM reported strong financial results?

Ah, the joy!

Article brings an example:
That information comes from an angry IBMer who spoke with a writer from the Silicon Alley Insider. According to the tipster, one of several who told similar stories, the workers are being placed at newly formed Global Delivery Centers in Colorado, New York, and Iowa. If they don't take the job, IBM labels them a "voluntary departure" and terminates them with no severance.

Interestingly, this gentleman actually gave some thought to a potential IBM job in Malaysia, but as the pay was about one-third of his current salary, he rejected it. He also tells me that there's yet another catch in the offer to move employees to what we used to call the Third World. "The deal is that if you take the job IBM won't pay severance but will pay 'a portion' (undefined) of your relocation expenses, including tax and visa services. Not a good deal for many of my colleagues who have 20-25 weeks of severance under their agreement."

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