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Protesting layoffs, Google Swiss employees stage walkout for second time

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In January, Google parent Alphabet notified in a staff memo to layoff about 12,000  employees, or trim 6% of its workforce.


Employees at Google’s Zurich office in Switzerland staged a walkout on Wednesday to protest against the job cuts. Over 200 employees were laid off in January by the American multinational tech major in the country.


“With today´s walkout, Google employees in Zurich are protesting against the mass layoffs and are showing solidarity with their colleagues whose employment has already been terminated,” Syndicom,  a Swiss trade union representing communication, IT, and media workers, wrote in a blog. “The employees at Google Zurich demand that the company engage in dialogue with workers to thoroughly and seriously examine alternatives to layoffs.”


Quoting a representative for IT workers’ union Syndicom Reuters report said that over 2,000 workers, out of approximately 5,000, at the office had offered to reduce their pay and working hours in order to prevent layoffs. However, the tech giant rejected the proposal, and a company spokesperson said that the cuts are made to ensure that the number of roles remained aligned with Google’s highest priorities.


Although it is rare to see walkouts in tech companies, this is not the first time workers at Google’s Zurich office staged the same. Last month, around 250 Google Swiss employees walked out to protest the tech major’s decision of laying off 6% of its workforce globally.


In January, Google parent Alphabet notified in a staff memo to cut about 12,000 jobs, or trim 6% of its workforce. The Sundar Pichai-led company said it was prepared for “a different economic reality” and the CEO took “full responsibility” for the decisions that led to the layoffs. Google’s job cuts also affected the national shores, and the company reportedly laid off 453 employees across various departments last month.


In a nutshell, a setback in consumer spending due to high inflation and interest rates along with the threat of a looming recession this year has pushed corporates to keep a lid on their spending. On Tuesday, Facebook parent Meta announced its second round of mass layoffs. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company will reduce the team size by around 10,000 employees and further close around 5,000 open roles.

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