Photo of IBM from Street Directory

US computer manufacturer IBM yesterday (Jul 23) retrenched hundreds of Singapore employees and announced that it will be relocating its manufacturing plant to Mexico. IBM staff and contractors told state media that at least 200 employees yesterday, on top of two rounds of retrenchments in May and June.

About 30% of the total IBM workforce, estimated at 600, was fired. IBM acknowledged the retrenchment exercise but gave its assurance that a part of the server manufacturing plant and other investments will remain in Singapore. That being said, there was no warning prior to the retrenchment today.

The 365,000 square foot eight-year-old manufacturing plant costing S$90 million was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in 2010. The news came as a surprise as Singapore has been offering lucrative corporate tax cuts, and even committed S$2.27 billion of tax cuts in this year’s 2018 Budget.

When contacted by the media, the Ministry of Manpower refused to offer target assistance to retrenched IBM employees because the news is “speculative”.

In another news, Singapore’s state-owned bank OCBC yesterday (Jul 23) announced they will be cutting bank tellers’ jobs by half. The Singapore bank said that about 150 bank tellers will be reassigned other job roles and “no tellers employed today will lose their job”. OCBC however did not comment if it is going to hire more headcounts.