By Karina Frayter, CNN
Last Updated: February 5, 2009
NEW YORK (CNN) -- IBM employees being laid off in North America now have an alternative to joining the growing ranks of the unemployed - work for the company abroad.
Big Blue is offering its outgoing workers in the United States and Canada a chance to take an IBM job in India, Nigeria, Russia or other countries.
Through a program dubbed Project Match, IBM will help interested workers whose jobs are on the chopping block to "identify potential opportunities in growth markets and facilitate consideration by hiring managers in those markets," according to an internal company document obtained by CNN.
The company also will help with moving costs and provide visa assistance, it says.
Other countries with IBM opportunities include Argentina, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates, according to the document.
Only "satisfactory performers" who are "willing to work on local terms and conditions" should pursue the jobs, the document says. IBM would not immediately confirm if it means that the workers would be paid local wages and would be subject to local labor laws.
A spokesman for Alliance@IBM, a workers' group that is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America but does not have official union status at IBM, slammed the initiative.
"IBM not only is offshoring its work to low-cost countries, now IBM wants employees to offshore themselves," spokesman Lee Conrad told CNN. "At a time of rising unemployment IBM should be looking to keep both the work and the workers in the United States."
The Armonk, N.Y.-based company has confirmed recent layoffs but has not provided any specifics on the number of people affected.
Conrad said IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) has laid off more than 4,000 workers in the United States since the beginning of the year, but called that "a conservative number."
"This is unacceptable to the Alliance and we are pursuing this by asking our members and all IBM employees to contact their political representatives to demand an accounting and transparency in job cuts and offshoring from IBM," Conrad said.