SINGAPORE — Nine years after it opened with much fanfare, global technology giant IBM’s manufacturing facility in Tampines will be shut, with the remaining workers to be laid off.
The shutting of the IBM Singapore Technology Park comes after several rounds of retrenchments were carried out between May and July last year.
In an email reply to TODAY, the American firm said that the manufacturing of its mainframe computers, known as IBM Z, will move to Poughkeepsie, New York in the United States.
It also said that the move is a result of “IBM's continual review of the most efficient way to source (its) products”.
“Poughkeepsie already manufactures IBM Z, thus it already has the required skills, procedures, tools and manufacturing expertise,” it added.
Headquartered in New York, the tech firm declined to reveal the number of workers being retrenched except to say that “all affected employees will leave by the end of July (2019)”.
Several IBM staff members and subcontractors, who spoke to TODAY on the condition of anonymity, said that the majority of the employees — at least 70 per cent — will leave the company at the end of this month, while the rest will leave at the end of July.
Two of them, from separate teams with a combined strength of more than 50, each said that their whole team will be gone.
They were notified of the plant’s closure and their impending retrenchment in early March.
IBM’s employees will be receiving one month of salary for each year of service as part of their compensation package, while those working for its logistics subcontractor Geodis will be receiving two weeks of salary for each year of service.
Under Ministry of Manpower (MOM) guidelines, companies are encouraged to pay retrenchment benefits of between two weeks and a month’s salary for each year of service, depending on the company’s financial position and the industry.
For unionised companies such as IBM, the norm is one month’s salary for each year of service.
TODAY previously reported that at least 200 of IBM's staff members and its subcontractorswere being retrenched out of the estimated 400 to 600 workers in the Tampines plant.
The manufacturing of its Power Systems product was being relocated to Guadalajara, Mexico then.
At that time, IBM said that the manufacturing of its IBM Z products will continue at the Singapore Technology Park in Tampines.
Since a batch of workers were let go in July last year, workers told TODAY that morale at the workplace has definitely taken a hit.
“We are losing colleagues, people we have been working together with for so long. … It’s like losing friends, you know,” said one male employee who has been working at IBM for more than 10 years.
Another worker said that he was not surprised when told of the plant’s closure and that his last day of work will be at the end of April.