Dell and Lenovo cut jobs as IBM rumours fly

The economic downturn continued to take its toll on the tech sector, as Dell, Lenovo and possibly even IBM lined up to cut jobs.

Dell announced today it would be closing its Limerick, Ireland plant, shifting operations to Poland and resulting in a loss of 1,900 jobs. The move will start in April and be completed by 2010, with a thousand non-manufacturing roles staying in the Irish city.

"Dell will migrate all production of computer systems for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Limerick to its Polish facility and third-party manufacturing partners over the next year," Dell said in a statement.

Lenovo, another leading computer manufacturer, is to cut 2,500 jobs -some 11 per cent of its total workforce around the world - in a bid to save $300 million by 2010. The Chinese firm said in a statement that it expected sales of computers to slow because of the economic downturn, and predicted it would report a loss for the last quarter of 2008.

"As hard as this news is for all of our Lenovo employees, we believe the steps we are taking today are necessary for Lenovo to compete in today's economy," said chief executive William J. Amelio in a statement.

The gloom may be set to spread to tech leader IBM, if rumours on the website of its American union prove true. According to posts on the Alliance for IBM site, employees have been hearing that cuts are to take place near the end of the month. As many as 16,500 job losses are being predicted by the site, with some claiming to have already lost their posts.

A spokesperson for IBM would not confirm or deny the speculation, as the tech firm does not comment on rumours. IBM reports its fourth quarter figures on 20 January.

Similar unconfirmed job cut speculation hit Microsoft last week, with as many as 15,000 cuts expected.