IBM worker's day of action off to a slow start

Worldwide protest over IBM's planned job cuts are off to a slow start

A worldwide day of action by IBM workers and unions in protest over the company's planned job cuts got off to a slow start with no reported action at company facilities in Asia-Pacific as of late morning.

"We haven't heard of anything happening," said Amanda Garland, a Sydney-based spokeswoman for IBM Asia-Pacific. IBM's Japanese subsidiary also said it had received no reports of action by late morning, local time.

Unions representing IBM workers and workers themselves in several countries around the world are planning a variety of actions on Monday. They are protesting a restructuring plan that is expected to see between 10,000 and 13,000 of the company's workers voluntarily or involuntarily lose their jobs. The majority of lay-offs are expected in Europe, IBM said in a statement on May 4.

The action is likely to be largest in France where strikes are planned at several IBM offices throughout the country, according to information from the Alliance@IBM worker's group. The Endicott, New York-based group is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America and maintains a Web site at http://www.allianceibm.org .

A four-hour strike is planned in Italy and in some other countries, including Japan, Germany, and Belgium, where workers will distribute a statement regarding the planned job cuts, said Alliance@IBM.

In the U.S. the protest is to take several forms, according to Alliance@IBM. These will include wearing black and blue items of clothing "to signify the pain caused by job cuts," a 10-minute "silent break" nationwide from 1 p.m. EDT and calls from IBM retirees and e-mail from spouses of terminated employees to Sam Palmisano, IBM's chairman and CEO, regarding their concerns and experiences after losing their jobs.

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