Hundreds of Google employees staged a demonstration outside the Google UK headquarters in King’s Cross, London, on Tuesday due to the company’s decision to layoff thousands of its workers worldwide. These cuts come following Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announcing plans in January to make about 12,000 staff redundant.
Unite, the biggest union representing Google staff in the UK, organized the protest with the aim of addressing what they called ‘sackings and union busting’ and ‘appalling treatment.’ In addition, they fear that the decision could result in mass redundancies amongst the 5,000 employees currently employed in the UK.
Furthermore, Google offices in Canada and Zurich also witnessed similar groundswells of resistance, with employees claiming that their pleas for job conservation had been dismissed by senior management.
Google’s finance chief, Ruth Porat, wrote a rare company-wide email discussing various cost-cutting measures that the company would undertake to deliver ‘durable savings.’ These measures include cutting benefits such as fitness classes and office basics, reducing laptop replacements for workers and refusing to pay for the remainder of laid-off employees’ maternity and medical leaves.
Unite regional officer, Matt Whaley, said that Google’s treatment of employees and refusal to allow full union representation in its redundancy process were ‘appalling and potentially unlawful.’
Google has responded by stating that they are doing their best to adhere to all UK processes and legal requirements while engaging with employees and providing them with clarity on the matter.
Google is an American-based multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has further evolved to develop technologies for voice commands, online mapping, cloud computing, online media sharing, and many other consumer products. The company is one of the leading multinationals in terms of market capitalization, revenue, and performance.
Ruth Porat is Chief Financial Officer at Alphabet and Google. She oversees the financial operations of Alphabet and its subsidiaries, including Google. Porat has more than thirty years of experience in the financial industry and has worked at Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney, and Salvage Kravis Roberts. Previously, she served as Chief Financial Officer at Motorola when the company was acquired by Google. Porat has been widely recognized for her work as a leader in the financial industry and has been featured in 2015’s Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women list. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.