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Business News/ Companies / News/  Google workers stage protests in New York, California against layoffs
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Google workers stage protests in New York, California against layoffs

Google has laid off 12,000 employees.

Members of the Alphabet Workers Union (CWA) hold a rally outside the Google office in response to recent layoffs, in New York on February 2, 2023. - Google's parent company Alphabet announced in January it will cut about 12,000 jobs globally, citing a changing economic reality. (AFP)Premium
Members of the Alphabet Workers Union (CWA) hold a rally outside the Google office in response to recent layoffs, in New York on February 2, 2023. - Google's parent company Alphabet announced in January it will cut about 12,000 jobs globally, citing a changing economic reality. (AFP)

Google, the tech giant has recently fired around 12,000 employees this January, due to which many workers of the company staged protests on both US coasts this week to call attention to labor conditions for subcontracted workers and support thousands of co-workers who were laid off. 

One rally was held on Wednesday at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, while another took place near Google's corporate offices in New York City, according to Bloomberg news. 

About 50 employees staged a protest in New York outside a Google store on Ninth Avenue, just minutes after parent company Alphabet Inc reported fourth-quarter results, including $13.6 billion in profit.

Alberta Devor, a software engineer said, "Today, Google has debunked its own rationale for laying off 12,000 of our co-workers. It is clear that the menial savings the company is pocketing from laying off workers are nothing in comparison to the billions spent on stock buybacks or the billions made in profit last quarter."

The demonstrations were organized by the labor group Alphabet Workers Union, which doesn't have collective bargaining rights, and whose members include Google subcontractors as well as employees, Bloomberg reported. 

In an interview, Devor who has worked at Google for more than three years and is an AWU member said, “Today shows that some of the issues we’re talking about affect all workers regardless of what their actual job title or job status is."

In California's rally, dozens of subcontractors spoke out against what they called substandard conditions, including what they said were “poverty wages and no benefits." 

Their tasks include reviewing content to help train the company’s AI-powered algorithms, as well as screening YouTube clips and searching ads for offensive or sensitive material. However, the workers say their pay and benefits fall far below Google’s own minimum standards and benefits for its direct contract workers, as per Bloomberg reports. 

Zai Snell, one of the subcontractors at the protest in California said, “We would like to at least be able to have some chance of survivability with this job." 

These layoffs have sparked widespread concern and criticism, and have led to calls for companies to be more responsible and sensitive toward their employees. While the tech industry has always been known for its rapid change and innovation, it’s crucial for companies to be mindful of the impact that their actions have on people’s lives.

 

(With Bloomberg inputs)

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Published: 03 Feb 2023, 07:02 AM IST
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