Lotus staff shafted by IBM...again!

Monday 7th August, 2006
In case it wasn't enough getting moved onto new contracts, having the threat of redundancy constantly looming and losing half of their office, IBM has finally put the last nail in the coffin for many of the Lotus workers in Staines.

For many years, one of the best reasons to work in Lotus Park was Lotus' fine provision of free soft drinks. Every kitchen in staff areas had a nice drinks fridge complete with bottles of coke, Fanta etc. along with nice Flavia coffee makers...all dispensing for free...into a nice yellow Lotus mug.

Now many workers are crying "call the Union" as all of this vanished. The soft drinks are gone, the mugs are gone and the coffee makers now need to be fed cash (or rather an IBM smartcard) to dispense a drink...that's if you can find a crappy plastic cup to put in it.

For years staff have lived on these benefits, which may seem very generous to on-lookers, but there was a major side-effect. As nice drinks we're easily provisioned, it's let IBM facilities get away with inadequate air conditioning for years. As more and more staff with hot PC equipment are crammed into tiny cubicles when other sections of the office close, building temperatures soar...even when it's cool outside. Meeting rooms have windows flung wide open as staff attempt to entertain visitors in the hot, humid conditions.

Needless to say, when I caught up with some of my old Lotus buddies this weekend...they were far from happy. They know IBM would rather save the approximate $20k a year provisioning a desk and have them work from home, but many of them don't have jobs that aren't suited to that. It's even more vital for customer meetings, you can't just invite key clients to come and sit around your home dining table.

Could this finally spell the end of Lotus Park? Are they really running stuff this far into the ground? I know many of the guys are slowly moving into Starbucks across the road as both the air-con and the coffee are better.

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