HomeJobsGoogle's Irish workers seek transparency on future job cuts

Google’s Irish workers seek transparency on future job cuts

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Fears of lay-offs at Google continue to impact Irish staff with concerns that the company’s effort to reduce its headcount has not been properly communicated.

The tech giant cut 240 Irish jobs last year, joining most other IT multinationals in reducing headcounts in their Irish operations. It followed a surge in recruitment by major tech firms across the globe in the wake of the covid pandemic which saw a huge shift to remote working. 

However, in recent months the process has seen a reversal with a series of cuts being announced.

Under Irish law, companies employing 300 or more employees must notify the Government if 30 or more are put at risk of redundancy. However, the Financial Services Union (FSU), which represents Irish Google employees, has called out the company for a “lack of transparency”, with fears that lay-offs are continuing in small but regular rounds, hence avoiding the need to report cuts to the Government and engage in collective consultations with affected staff.

“While we had a formal redundancy process last year, the way things have unfolded in recent months is very different,” one Google employee told the Irish Examiner.

“Lay-offs have been taking place every month this year and are done by product area and department. They’re coming in waves. It started in January and has been continuing throughout February, March, April, May and June.”

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Gareth Murphy, Head of Industrial Relations and Campaigns at the FSU said the union was “extremely concerned” about ongoing redundancies at Google and the impact they are having on individuals who are “being forced out,” as well as those remaining who are unsure of their futures.

The lack of transparency or information shared with staff or the union on the number of people being made redundant is troublesome.

The Government last received a collective redundancy notification from Google in February 2023, with Mr Murphy calling on the company to “clarify without delay how many staff they have made redundant so far this year”. 

In an email sent to Google staff at the beginning of 2024, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai said that some teams will “continue to make specific resource allocations throughout the year” adding that some roles “may be impacted”. 

“It’s extremely difficult to get any information,” said the Google employee, adding that the lack of communication has been “very stressful for Irish staff”. “The mood has changed quite a lot. We don’t know how many more will be cut. It’s the not knowing that is making this so complicated.” 

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, a spokesperson for Google said that several teams made changes throughout the second half of 2023 to best position them for “significant opportunities ahead”. “Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organisational changes, which include some role eliminations globally,” the spokesperson continued.

“Any proposed organisational team changes are subject to local regulations and processes. We’re continuing to support any impacted employees as they look for new roles here at Google and beyond.”

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