IT workers have traditionally had fairly low union membership and, in the UK, IBM was no exception.
But I’ve just returned from a union meeting in Eastleigh, Hampshire, attended by well over 200 workers. Many of them have just joined the Unite union in the last two weeks.
What’s triggered this? Simple—IBM’s plan to close the defined benefits pension scheme. If this went through, it would reduce some people’s pensions by almost half—and many are only a few years from their retirement.
IBM operates many different pension schemes and the majority of workers do not have access to the defined contribution scheme. But there was solidarity between workers nonetheless.
IBM has recently announced record profits, and it is estimated that CEO Sam Palmisano gets paid more than £15 million per year.