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1/28/2008
12:22 PM
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IBM Workers Launch Petition To Stop Pay Cuts

Employee group seeks to prevent a 15% salary reduction for IT specialists and support workers.

A group representing IBM employees has launched a petition drive that aims to get the computer maker to reverse plans to impose a 15% pay cut on more than 7,500 employees.

The petition, organized by Alliance At IBM and addressed to "IBM management," asks that "the salary of all employees affected by the announced pay cut ... be immediately restored."

The petition drive comes in the wake of reports that IBM plans to cut by 15% the salaries of IT specialists and support workers, starting in February.

According to an internal IBM document viewed by InformationWeek, the plan was drawn up in response to several lawsuits filed against the company alleging that it failed to pay overtime to groups of workers who were legally entitled to the extra pay.

"To avoid protracted litigation in an area of law widely seen as ambiguous, IBM chose to settle the case -- and to conduct a detailed review of the jobs in question," the document states.

As part of a salary-restructuring plan, IBM has agreed to pay those workers time-and-a-half overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week -- but will cut their base pay by 15% to make up the difference.

IBM has said it won't save any money as a result of the plan because the pay cuts will be offset by increased overtime costs.

But some IBM workers are crying foul. "We have had record profits and seen our benefits and base pay erode at record levels," wrote one poster on a message board operated by Alliance At IBM.

Despite such complaints, the petition appears to have garnered only tepid support so far. The online document had received just 500 electronic signatures as of Monday morning.

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