Google Employees Stage Giant Walkout

Google Employees Stage Giant Walkout

( – Tech giant Google has been hit with a strike at its Swiss HQ, with hundreds of workers walking out in solidarity with laid-off colleagues. Google is planning to cut its workforce by around 6% this year. It doesn’t look like it can achieve that without opposition.

On January 20, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, sent a memo to staff announcing that the company planned to cut around 12,000 jobs — about 6% of its employees. Many tech companies are cutting back right now after a frenzy of hiring during the COVID pandemic left them overstaffed and uncompetitive. Unfortunately for Google, it seems some of their staff won’t go without a fight.

In February, Google was hit with a strike at its office in Zurich, Switzerland, after it revealed plans for cuts to its 5,000 staff. Around 200 people at that office have now been told their jobs are being axed. On March 15, hundreds of their colleagues walked out in protest.

Syndicom, a Swiss IT workers’ union, told journalists that over 2,000 staff at the Zurich office had offered to take cuts to their own pay and working hours to avoid job losses, but Google had rejected the idea and pushed ahead with the layoffs. The union representative said workers were unhappy that the reasons for the cuts were “non-transparent,” and they don’t understand why people are being let go while the company is making large profits.

According to Google, the cuts are aimed at keeping the size of the workforce “aligned” with the company’s priorities. Google has been under pressure recently; its core advertising business is shrinking as companies cut their publicity budgets, while Instagram and TikTok are taking views away from YouTube. The company is also falling behind in the growing Artificial Intelligence market; it’s working on a competitor to ChatGPT, but rival Microsoft has already added AI to its Bing search engine, jumping ahead of Google’s own search tool. For a company that built its reputation on web searches, that has to be a blow to its pride.

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