Google decision to force compulsory redundancies should be reversed.

22 March 2023

Minister should intervene on behalf of workers.

The Financial Services Union and ICTU have jointly called on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD to advocate for workers and for him to call on Google to reverse their decision to force through compulsory redundancies.

Google announced 240 redundancies in its Irish operation last month. Throughout the last thirty days Google has been undertaking their legal statutory requirement of a thirty-day consultation with their employee representatives. These discussions have centered around options to avoid and mitigate against compulsory redundancies and to protect employees working in Ireland on work visas who if made unemployed may be required to return to dangerous and often precarious situations in their home countries.

Google have now informed their employee council in writing they will not adopt a voluntary first approach to redundancies and will force through compulsory redundancies.

Commenting on the decision John O’Connell, General Secretary of the FSU said:

“The decision by Google to adopt a position of compulsory redundancies is at odds with good industrial relations practice in Ireland and should be reversed. It shows a lack of understanding and compassion by Google towards its employees.

The employee council put forward a number of realistic options which would have avoided the need for compulsory redundancies. These options included specific, controlled, and targeted application of voluntary severance to certain areas where there is known interest in voluntary severance and employee swaps where someone is at risk but finds someone of a similar skillset and rating who is not at risk but wishes to leave the company.

The employee representatives believed their proposal would go a long way to meeting the company’s plans but in a voluntary way and would help address the issue of visas.

The FSU wrote to the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney TD. a number of weeks ago asking him to use the influence of his office to request Google to adopt a voluntary first approach to redundancies.

The hands-off approach currently being adopted by the Minister will not give any comfort to workers facing the prospect of compulsory redundancies.”

Owen Reidy, General Secretary of ICTU said:

“It is not too late for the Minister to intervene and use his voice and office to advocate for workers in Google. Best practice would be for all options to mitigate compulsory redundancies to be explored and acted upon in the first instance.

Compulsory redundancies can be avoided in Google if the company shows a willingness and a genuine desire to support its workforce and work with its employee council to ensure its business objectives are achieved without the need to resort to compulsory redundancies.”