Google workers in London stage walkout over job cuts

Google workers in London stage walkout over job cuts
Pedestrians walk past by the Google office in St Pancras in London, Britain, 27 June 2017. (Photo: EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA)

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - Hundreds of Google employees staged a walkout at the company’s London offices on Tuesday, following a dispute over layoffs.

In January, Google’s parent company Alphabet GOOGL.O announced it was laying off 12,000 employees worldwide, equivalent to 6% of its global workforce.

The move came amid a wave of job cuts across corporate America, particularly in the tech sector, which has so far seen companies shed more than 290,000 workers since the start of the year, according to tracking site

Trade union Unite, which counts hundreds of Google’s UK employees among its members, said the company had ignored concerns put forward by employees.

“Our members are clear: Google needs to listen to its own advice of not being evil,” said Unite regional officer Matt Whaley.

“They and Unite will not back down until Google allows workers full union representation, engages properly with the consultation process and treats its staff with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

A Google employee attending the protest, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, told Reuters that talks between employees and management had been “extremely frustrating.”

“It has been difficult for those involved. We have a redundancy process for a reason, so that employees can make their voice heard,” they said. “But it feels as if our concerns have fallen on deaf ears.”

Google’s senior management has been engaged in redundancy talks in many parts of Europe, in line with local employment laws.

Last month, workers at the company’s Zurich office in Switzerland staged a similar walkout, with employee representatives claiming Google had rejected their proposals to reduce job cuts.

“As we said on January 20, we’ve made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles globally. We know this is a very challenging time for our employees,” a Google spokesperson said.

“In the UK, we have been constructively engaging and listening to our employees through numerous meetings, and are working hard to bring them clarity and share updates as soon as we can in adherence with all UK processes and legal requirements.”

Google employs more than 5,000 people in the United Kingdom.

By Martin Coulter

(Reporting by Martin Coulter; Editing by Mark Potter and Christina Fincher)


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