DUBLIN (AP) — IBM Corp. said Wednesday it plans to cut 190 jobs at its Ireland server-manufacturing lines and move them to China.
The move is the latest sign of traditional manufacturing operations deserting high-wage Ireland in favor of Eastern Europe and Asia. Such cuts have helped to drive Irish unemployment to 13.7 percent, second-highest in the euro zone after Spain.
IBM, one of Ireland's largest private-sector employers with a work force of about 3,000, said the 190 layoffs at its main facility in Mulhuddart, west Dublin, would be completed by March. The company said it expected to rehire some workers for new jobs at its growing software services division in Ireland.
In a statement IBM said the transfer of server manufacturing to one of its Shenzhen, China, facilities "will place us closer to our growth markets and suppliers, while providing greater operational efficiency and cost savings."
Earlier this year IBM sought 310 voluntary resignations from its Irish staff as it began transferring its higher-end server assembly lines to another IBM operation in Singapore. But it also announced plans to hire up to 200 for a new development center for urban-planning software.
About 1,000 foreign multinationals are based in low-tax Ireland, with particular concentrations in pharmaceuticals and software. But increasingly the companies are reshaping their Irish operations as high-skill R&D centers rather than as manufacturing bases, because of Ireland's relatively high labor, utility and transport costs.