IBM has laid off an undisclosed number of workers in Australia and around the world this week as it intensifies its focus on some of the technology industry's hottest markets.
The move is part of a global restructuring plan the company announced in April after releasing disappointing first-quarter results.
The cuts target employees with a range of seniority, from executives to rank-and-file workers, said a person familiar with the effort, who asked not to be identified.
The Australian Services Union says strike action by Hunter Water employees at Newcastle's sewerage treatment plants could see increased levels of coastal pollution.
Twenty eight employees have walked off the job over plans to cut staffing at the plants over Christmas from two to one.
ASU Secretary Sally McManus says a solo worker at a Melbourne treatment plant died recently and was not found until a week later.
She says a refusal by members to work could have dire environmental consequences.
"Sewerage treatment plants obviously deal with outflows, they deal with environmental issues," she said.
"They're essential to the operation of everything, so this is a really bad situation that management's put everyone on in.
"We're just asking for them to keep the status quo and have two people working until we're in a position to say it's safe not to do that."
Hunter Water says it is in ongoing discussions with the union and the safety of employees and the public is their number one priority.
It has assured the public the treatment works will continue to operate effectively and safely.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Services Union (ASU) has taken Canon to Fair Work Australia over the transfer of technicians to the Japanese imaging giant from IT services firm CSG.
In mid-May CSG revealed it had inked a $31 million deal which would see the IT firm win the right to service about 10,500 Canon multi-function devices (a MFD is a device which integrates functions from stand-alone devices such as printers, scanners, photocopiers and fax machines).
Computer technicians are threatening chaos at fast-food outlets, supermarkets, banks and airports unless they get a pay rise.
More than 100 staff from NCR - a company responsible for repairing computer breakdowns at KFC outlets, Aldi supermarkets and Sydney Airport's baggage handling systems - are planning to to walk off the job on Monday morning.