Wednesday 21 August 2019

Google faces criticism over contractors

Google is one of Dublin's largest corporate employers and is regarded by the authorities here as a magnet for other tech companies seeking a European headquarters
Google is one of Dublin's largest corporate employers and is regarded by the authorities here as a magnet for other tech companies seeking a European headquarters
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Google is facing calls to reduce the number of contractors it uses amid accusations that it is saving money on costs such as healthcare and holiday pay by focusing on looser work arrangements.

The company's head of human resources, Eileen Naughton, has denied that Google "misuses independent contractors or temporary workers", and says that the tech giant is "proud to create economic opportunities for both the people we employ directly and our extended workforce of vendors, temporary staff, and independent contractors".

In Ireland, approximately half of the 7,000-plus people working for Google are contractors, agency workers or temporary staff. More than half of the company's global workforce of 223,000 are temporary workers, according to figures compiled by 'The New York Times'.

Google is one of Dublin's largest corporate employers and is regarded by the authorities here as a magnet for other tech companies seeking a European headquarters.

Ten US senators, including Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have called on the company to stop its "anti-worker practices" and to make temporary staff more permanent. "Making these changes to your company's employment practices will ensure equal treatment of all Google workers and put an end to the two-tier employment structure you have perpetuated," said a letter written by Ohio senator Sherrod Brown and co-signed by nine other senators.

The call for greater workers' rights was echoed by Google's former top executive for human resources, Laszlo Bock.

"I think, in general, you should hire people as employees," Mr Bock, now working with Humu, said this week in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

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