GOOGLE IS UNDER FIRE AGAIN over its working practices after it was revealed by the New York Times that it has 121,000 temps, contractors or other vendors working for it (TVCs in Google parlance), against an employee headcount of 102,000.
TVCs are generally paid less and some allege that they are 'expendable' fodder when the shiz hits the fizz. This 'shadow workforce' situation was raised during last year's #MeToo walkout but was somewhat lost in the wider subject of the protests.
Google has already said that from next year, it will insist that all agencies it uses to provide a full contract and benefits package to employees on assignment to its companies, but that came in the wake of a letter signed by 900 Googlers demanding a fairer deal for TVCs. The new deal will include a minimum $15/h wage (pretty tiny in Silicon Valley terms, but liveable, which is the point) and parental leave.
That came after 34 TVCs working behind the scenes on Google Assistant's ‘personality' had their contracts suddenly snipped short.
The global cull, including some London staff, was made extra icky because Google instructed managers to keep their distance, avoiding thanks or acknowledging long service, in case such niceties became evidence in future legal action. Pretty dirty trick.
The company hasn't said anything about the staff headcount but points out that it provides multiple mechanisms to fix anything that isn't right.
"If someone is not having a good experience, we provide lots of ways to report complaints or express concerns," it said in a statement to CNET. "We investigate, we hold individuals to account and we work to make things right for any person impacted."
Whilst contractors are an important aspect of the employment sector, they are there for specific circumstances and governments are starting to crack down on companies that use them as a way of dodging responsibilities, as seen in the way that zero-hour workers and indeed tech journalists are often treated by their employers. μ
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