Job fears as Wellington-based EDS restructures

EDS is about to restructure its New Zealand operation and staff fear that many jobs will go.

EDS is about to restructure its New Zealand operation and staff fear that many jobs will go.

In a low-key press release, the company says it is restructuring its operations to take advantage of market opportunities and provide a solid foundation for future growth and development.

The initial phase of the project--there will be a dedicated project team--is expected to take several months, though a plan for a new structure will be developed by the end of November.

“Significant restructuring and re-engineering is required so that we are better able to react to market needs and deliver services customers require,” says managing director Eddie Bates.

“We decided to initiate this programme now, a year after the merger of EDS and GCS.” Bates says it is expected some jobs will cease to exist in their current form but wherever possible, affected staff will be redeployed to other positions in the company.

He wasn’t prepared, subsequently, to comment on how many jobs might go.

But he confirmed that EDS’ extensive property holdings would be reviewed as part of the restructuring.

“Absolutely. We have two large computer centres in Auckland and two in Wellington. We’ll be looking at efficiencies in that regard.”

In August EDS held internal presentations for all staff at which attendance was mandatory. The company’s vice-chairman, Mike Butcher, told staff that there would be no restructuring in New Zealand as a result of EDS being spun off from General Motors to operate as a stand-alone company.

"It was only a matter of weeks after Butcher’s announcement before the American contingent arrived--they’re here now,” a local staff member told @IDG.

The general opinion among staff is that many jobs are likely to go. EDS currently employs around 1250 people--down about 80 from a year ago.

“It’s obvious that if the company is going to be competitive it’s going to have to get rid of a lot of people,” one middle manager said. “It’s only a matter now of who goes and who stays.”

When EDS bought both Databank and GCS to establish itself as a major player in the New Zealand market, of necessity it took on a lot of staff. There has been some reduction in numbers but it is a glaring reality that no other company of EDS’ size is carrying anywhere near the same head-count.

Market perception is that EDS is not doing particularly well in attracting new business.

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