RIM mum on SA job cuts

Research in Motion (RIM) is looking to cut between 2,000 and 6,000 jobs in the next few weeks, according to reports – but there is no word from the once-leading smartphone manufacturer whether these cuts will impact the South African operations.

In a report posted by the UK’s Guardian, Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper cites sources close to RIM saying that the trouble smartphone manufacturer’s next wave of employee layoffs is planned for the start of June 2012.

One source, speaking to Reuters, claimed that the layoffs would affect legal, marketing, sales, operations, and HR operations.

Operating out of Fourways, Johannesburg, RIM’s presence in South Africa forms part of the global network of 16,500 employees – one-third of which may now be facing the chopping block.

RIM had previously cut its staff by 11% – about 2,000 people – in July 2011.

When asked about the impact of these job cuts on the South African operation, RIM responded that “RIM’s standard policy is to decline comment on rumours and speculation,” directing us to comments made by RIM executives on the company’s Q4 conference call.

Restructuring

RIM has come under intense pressure in recent months as the once-leading smartphone manufacturer in the world faces strong competition from both Apple and Samsung and their respective smartphone offerings.

Speaking in the company’s last earnings conference call, RIM Chief Executive, Thorsten Heins laid out his strategic plans to streamline operations and save $1 billion in the fiscal year.

This included “realigning the business” and “aggressively reshaping the organization”; another main focal point was the release of the company’s next generation smarthphone, BlackBerry 10.

“RIM is going through a significant transformation and our financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters,” Thorsten said.

RIM reported a fourth-quarter loss in March.

On top of the planned cuts, RIM has already seen top executives leave the company – including head of global marketing, Patrick Spence, who was a 14-year veteran of the company. The market reacted negatively to the announcement, sending the company’s stock sinking by 3% (24 May 2012).

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RIM mum on SA job cuts