About 1,400 workers at Google parent Alphabet Inc. have signed a petition advocating for improved treatment of staff throughout the layoff process after the firm revealed it was slashing 12,000 positions.
In an open letter addressed to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, employees made a series of demands of the company, including freezing new hires, seeking voluntary redundancies before compulsory ones, giving priority to laid-off workers for job vacancies, and letting workers finish scheduled periods of paid time off, such as parental and bereavement leave.
The workers also urged Alphabet to avoid firing employees from countries with current wars or humanitarian situations, such as Ukraine, and give special assistance to those in danger of losing their visa-linked status along with their employment.
“The impacts of Alphabet’s decision to reduce its workforce are global,” the letter said. “Nowhere have workers’ voices adequately been considered, and we know that as workers we are stronger together than alone.”
The petition follows Alphabet’s declaration in January that it will eliminate approximately 6% of its personnel after investor pressure to decrease expenditure in the post-pandemic downturn. Meta Platforms Ltd., Amazon.com Inc., and Microsoft Corp. are among the significant big companies to trim employment in recent months following years of expansion and recruiting.
A spokeswoman for Alphabet didn’t immediately comment on the petition. When Pichai announced the job layoffs on Jan. 20, he wrote in an email to colleagues that the firm recruited for a “different economic reality than the one we confront today” and that he accepted “full responsibility.”
While some Google employees, notably in the US, lost their jobs instantly, the process has been significantly lengthier for nations with better labor safeguards typical in Europe. Googlers in Switzerland, for example, just learned whose staff were slashed this week, provoking a walkout on Wednesday.
The letter was coordinated by a group of workers sponsored by unions including the Alphabet Workers Union, United Tech and Allied Workers, and UNI Global. It was created from conversations through a Discord channel established after the employee layoffs were revealed.
Labor organizations have helped organize multiple petitions protesting the layoffs at various Google subsidiaries and in different countries where it is present.
Several of the individuals who signed the petition told Bloomberg they are worried that the consultation procedures required by law in certain nations have become a box-ticking exercise. Input from workers to management, including results of surveys where individuals showed interest in volunteering for redundancy or reduced hours, has not been taken into consideration, they added.
The staff aims to distribute the petition for a few more days before submitting a physical copy to Pichai at Google’s headquarters in California.