As the firm announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs, nearly 1,400 employees of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, signed a petition calling for better treatment of employees during the layoff process.
Employees made a number of demands of the company in an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, including freezing new hires, seeking voluntary redundancies before forced ones, giving laid-off workers priority for open positions, and allowing workers to complete scheduled paid time off, such as parental and bereavement leave.
The workers urged Alphabet to refrain from laying off workers from nations that are embroiled in war or are experiencing humanitarian crises, such as Ukraine, and to extend additional assistance to individuals who would lose both their jobs and their visa-linked status.
The letter stated that “the effects of Alphabet’s choice to downsize its personnel are global.” We know that as workers, we are stronger together than alone, but the voices of the workers have never been effectively taken into account.
The petition comes after Alphabet announced in January that it would decrease its personnel by around 6% in response to investor pressure to cut costs in the post-pandemic slump. After years of expansion and recruiting, other software behemoths like Meta Platforms Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Microsoft Corp. have recently reduced personnel.
The petition was not immediately addressed by an Alphabet spokesman. Pichai stated in an email to staff on January 20 that he accepted “full responsibility” and that the company hired people for “a different economic situation than the one we confront today.”
Although some Google employees, particularly in the US, lost their jobs right once, the process has gone far more slowly for individuals in European nations with more robust labour laws. For instance, Google employees in Switzerland didn’t find out who was laid off until this week, which led to a walkout on Wednesday.
Employees with the backing of unions like the United Tech and Allied Workers, UNI Global, and the Alphabet Workers Union coordinated the letter. It developed from conversations held on a Discord channel that was started after the employment cuts were announced.
Many petitions regarding the layoffs at various Google entities and in various countries where it is present have been organised with the assistance of labour groups.
According to Bloomberg, some of the petition’s signatories are worried that the legal consultation procedures in some nations have devolved into a box-ticking exercise. They said that management had ignored employee feedback, including the findings of surveys in which respondents indicated a desire to volunteer for layoffs or decreased hours.
Before delivering a hard copy of the petition to Pichai at Google’s headquarters in California, the staff members intend to circulate it for a few more days.