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Business News/ Companies / News/  Google calls off contract with YouTube Music team members protesting for better pay
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Google calls off contract with YouTube Music team members protesting for better pay

Google removed employees from YouTube Music team who protested for better pay. Alphabet Workers Union-CWA reported the layoffs by contractor Cognizant in Austin, Texas.

YouTube Music team member, who protested against Google's return-to-work policy, have been removed from the company (REUTERS)Premium
YouTube Music team member, who protested against Google's return-to-work policy, have been removed from the company (REUTERS)

Google has removed a section of employees from its YouTube Music team who held a prolonged protest this year, demanding better pay from the company. According to the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, representing contractors for YouTube Music, Google contractor Cognizant in Austin, Texas cancelled the contracts in response to the strike,the Verge reported.  Google contractor Cognizant was responsible for approving music content for YouTube Music.

Over 40 employees of YouTube Music went on a strike in February last year, demanding changes to Google’s return-to-work policy. According to the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, many remote workers of the YouTube Music were paid as little as $19 an hour.

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However, Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini told The Verge that the decision to cut the team did not lie with them but, rather, with Cognizant. Meanwhile Cognizant chief communications officer has said that the team will get seven weeks of pay and opportunities to find another role within Cognizant.

Earlier Google argued that it should not be considered the employer of workers provided by staffing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions.

However, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rejected claims by Google in January this year and said Google violated US labor law.

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NLRB ruled that because Google controlled benefits, hours of work, and the direction of the work of the contractors, it counted as a partial employer.

Google in a statement said it would ask a federal appeals court to review the ruling.

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A Youtube Music worker and member of the union had said Google and Cognizant have made various changes to working conditions without bargaining, including requiring workers to return to the office and removing sick pay.

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The YouTube Music contractors are not the only ones fighting Google to recognize them as employees. CNBC reported the NLRB said Google can be called a partial employer for unionized contractors with Accenture, who did work on Google Search and pre-rebrand Bard. 

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Published: 04 Mar 2024, 10:29 AM IST
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