San Francisco: Google employees staged protests in the US this week to call attention to labour conditions for sub-contracted workers and to support thousands of their recently laid-off co-workers, the media reported.
While one protest was staged on Wednesday at the tech giant’s headquarters in California, a second demonstration too place near Google’s corporate offices in New York City the following day, reports Bloomberg.
Nearly 50 Google employees also protested outside a Ninth Avenue store in New York shortly after parent company Alphabet announced fourth-quarter profits of $13.6 billion.
“Google has debunked its own rationale for laying off 12,000 of our co-workers,” Alberta Devor, a software engineer, was quoted as saying.
“It is clear that the menial savings the company is pocketing from laying off workers is nothing in comparison to the billions spent on stock buybacks or the billions made in profit last quarter,” he added.
The Bloomberg report further mentioned that Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), a union with no collective bargaining rights, organised both rallies, which included both employees and sub-contractors of Google.
Devor, who is also an AWU member further 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”.
At a rally in California, dozens of sub-contractors spoke out against what they called substandard working conditions, including “poverty wages and no benefits.”
Their responsibilities include reviewing content to assist in the training of the company’s AI-powered algorithms, as well as screening YouTube clips and searching advertisements for offensive or sensitive material, said the report.
However, the employees claim that their pay and benefits are far below Google’s own minimum standards and benefits for direct contract workers.
Alphabet reported $76 billion in revenue for its fourth quarter that ended December 31, up 1 per cent (year-over-year), as it now bets big on AI.
The company said it would take a charge of between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion related to the layoffs of 12,000 employees.
Google Cloud brought in $7.32 billion in revenue, a 32 per cent increase from the year-ago quarter.