APPLE IS AXING more than 300 staffers following the shutdown of its Siri grading programme where contractors could eavesdrop on recordings made by iPhone owners.
According to former employees speaking to the Guardian, Apple has laid off more than 300 employees at its Cork facility alone, with more axed from other sites across Europe.
The staff, who were employed through contracting firms, had been on paid leave since 2 August - the day Apple announced plans to suspend the controversial Siri grading programme after it was revealed that staff had been eavesdropping on all kinds of things from private medical records being discussed to couples having sex.
"We are committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy," an Apple spokesperson said at the time. "While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally. Additionally, as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading."
Though, on 2 August, staff were sent home due to, er, "technical errors", Apple told contracting firms last week that grading work would be terminated, leading to job losses with little notice.
"Apple, recruiting through vendor companies in Ireland, take absolutely no responsibility in the employment of contractors and their treatment in work," one former staffer told the Guardian.
"They do what they want, and when they're done with your project or they screw up (like what just happened), they tell your vendor company to let you go, which they do … It's been coming at them for over a year. How could they not see this coming? Did they think about protecting their employees at all? Or just their reputation?
"We've all been laid off after the scandal, with no protection against this. More than 300 at once just in Cork, with no redundancy, just one week's notice."
In a statement given to the Examiner, Apple responded: "We believe that everyone should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, this includes our own employees and the suppliers we work with in Ireland and around the world.
"We're working closely with our partners as we do this to ensure the best possible outcome for our suppliers, their employees and our customers around the world." µ
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