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Google accused of illegal retaliation against workers

By Charlotte Ricca

Growing unrest at Google as four staff are fired following a 200 person staff protest

Google has been accused of “union busting” after firing four of its staff.

Google claims the employees were involved in “clear and repeated violations of our data security policies”, however, Google Walkout for Real Change has accused its employer of "attempting to crush worker organising."

Two of the four staff terminated were initially suspended, prompting a 200-strong demonstration by Google employees at its San Francisco office.

Google subsequently sent out a memo on Monday, confirming it had fired four employees who “were involved in systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work”, some of which had been leaked outside the company.

One of the so-called “Thanksgiving Four”, is software engineer Rebecca Rivers, who spoke at the rally, refuting that she had leaked confidential information. She claims she was fired due to her stance against Google's involvement with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

More than 1,500 workers have signed a petition demanding Google withdraws its bid to provide CBP with cloud computing services.

It’s clear the search giant is feeling the political pressure of its workers, as it recently hired IRI Consultants, who helps major corporations assess ‘union vulnerability’.

Google Walkout for Real Change wrote a blog stating Google hired the “union-busting” firm in order to ramp up its alleged “illegal retaliation against workers”.

According to the activist group Google redrafted its policies, making it a fireable offense to access certain documents, which previously had been a big part of the company’s culture. However, this new policy was allegedly unclear.

“We knew then, and it’s clear now: this policy change was setting up an excuse to retaliate against organizers, allowing the company a pretext for picking and choosing who to target,” said the statement. “This is classic union busting dressed up in tech industry jargon, and we won’t stand for it.”

FURTHER READING: Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion

FURTHER READING: Google latest tech giant to limit political adverts

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