June 23, 2024

Alphabet Workers Union Calls Google Layoffs ‘Needless’

Considering Google makes billions of dollars, its recent practice of mass layoffs is needless – claimed the Alphabet Workers Union.

The comment comes right after Google decided to get rid of thousands of employees working in its engineering, voice-assistance, and hardware teams. “Tonight, Google began another round of needless layoffs”, the union wrote in a post on X.

Google, however, defended the latest round of layoffs. The move is aimed at increasing efficiency and focusing resources on higher priorities, the tech giant said. Job cuts are taking place on teams dedicated to Google Assistant, Fitbit, and augmented reality hardware.

Can’t Fire Workers While Making Billions, Union Says

In its post, the union claimed that it was unethical of Google to continue with the layoffs at a time when it has been making billions every quarter. For reference, the tech giant made $76.3bn (£59.9bn) in revenues during the third quarter of 2023, recording a net income of $19.7bn.

Google has consistently maintained that layoffs are necessary in order to adapt to evolving industry dynamics and economic uncertainty.

However, there has been a series of layoffs at Google, with thousands of jobs being cut. In January 2023, Google decided to curtail 6% of its workforce, which amounted to about 12,000 employees.

As tech companies continue to automate numerous jobs, there has been a sharp drop in the need for manpower in various areas. This has made the layoffs a necessary move for cost-cutting and increased efficiency, as Google and other tech giants emphasized while cutting jobs.

Regarding the latest round of layoffs, Google previously said that it would be cutting a few hundred roles across the hardware, engineering, and AI assistance teams.

While the company didn’t specify the exact number, the Alphabet Workers Union later determined that there have been about 1,000 layoffs in this round. A majority of these layoffs took place in Google’s augmented reality hardware division.

On the same day, Google made an announcement that 17 “underutilized” features of Google Assistant are going to be depreciated. These include starting a meditation session with Calm using voice commands, playing audiobooks, and sending emails.

Mass Layoffs: A Growing Trend

Unfortunately for IT workers, mass layoffs have become a recurring trend across companies of varying scales. Google is far from the only company cutting jobs in droves. Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram has slashed over 20,000 jobs.

In December 2023, Spotify announced that it would be curtailing 17% of its global workforce. It’s worth noting that the streaming giant had already carried out two rounds of layoffs earlier last year.

Not long ago, hundreds of Amazon employees working in its Prime Video and studio units were laid off, along with 500 others who worked on Twitch, Amazon’s live-streaming platform.

In March 2023, Amazon announced that it would be laying off 9,000 workers in addition to the 18,000 job cuts it previously announced in January. With tech companies developing and implementing AI solutions at a rapid rate, the trend is only expected to continue.


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