Google’s job cuts are ‘needless’, says union

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It is “needless” for Google to cut hundreds of jobs when the tech giant earns billions, a union has claimed.

Jobs are going on teams working on health tracker Fitbit, the voice-controlled Google Assistant and hardware such as augmented reality.

The exact number of job losses is unclear, although Google confirmed to the Verge it had closed “a few hundred” roles across several of its teams.

Google said it was “responsibly investing” in its biggest priorities.

But in a post on X, formerly Twitter, the Alphabet Workers Union said the job cuts were not necessary, and it would fight them.

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End of twitter post by Alphabet Workers Union (AWU-CWA)

“Our members and teammates work hard every day to build great products for our users, and the company cannot continue to fire our coworkers while making billions every quarter,” it wrote.

However, Google has defended the latest round of redundancies.

“Throughout the second half of 2023, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, and to align their resources to their biggest product priorities,” the tech giant told the BBC in a statement.

“Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally. We’re continuing to support any impacted employees as they look for new roles here at Google and beyond.”

The firm made $76.3bn (£59.9bn) in revenue in the third quarter of 2023, according to its most recent figures, with a net income of $19.7bn.

Fitbit and Voice

Google purchased Fitbit for $2.1bn in 2019 at a time when many tech businesses were expanding into other areas.

But now it has slashed jobs in the team – with Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman among those leaving the firm, according to multiple reports.

Other major job cuts have come in the team working on Google Assistant, a voice-controlled technology similar to Amazon’s Alexa.

These job losses are again understood to be measured in the hundreds.

It comes a few months after Google announced in a blog post that its artificial intelligence tool Bard would be powering future forms of Assistant.

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