Google employees in the UK and Republic of Ireland have joined a global walkout by Google staff protesting against the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, a gender pay gap and employment rights.
Thousands of Google staff across the world took part in the #GoogleWalkOut including workers at Google offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Zurich and Berlin.
Staff from the London and Dublin offices also joined the action.
Staff Demand Google Tackles Sexual Harassment, Gender Inequality And Racism
— TradesUnionCongress (@The_TUC) November 1, 2018
In the statement organisers of #GoogleWalkout said, “While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity, and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between.”
“ENOUGH. Reassuring PR won’t cut it: we need transparency, accountability, and structural change.”
Specific demands include ending forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination; a commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity; a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report; a clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously and to elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors.
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) November 1, 2018
The catalyst for the walkout are allegations that the internet giant paid a senior executive $90m and publicly praised him following serious sexual misconduct allegations as revealed by the New York Times last week.
Google’s parent company Alphabet is worth around $800billion and is on track to becoming worth $1trillion.
The Women’s Equality Party expressed its support for the walkout, tweeting, ‘Brilliant collective global action by women at Google to fight sexual misconduct.’
Staff at @Google are demanding these five structural changes.
💰 Tackle the Gender Pay Gap
👨⚖️ End forced arbitration for harassment cases
👀 Publicly disclosed harassment report
🗣️ Clear and consistent sexual misconduct reporting
⬆️ Elevate Chief Diversity Officer
— RightsInfo (@rights_info) November 1, 2018
The Trade Union Congress also supported the protest, tweeting “Solidarity with Google staff who will walk out today over the company’s treatment of women.”
Prospect, the union for technology workers, also expressed support for Google employees and implored tech workers to join trade unions.
“Respect at work is a bottom line. Zero tolerance to harassment and bullying. No one should feel that they are forced to take action like this to get heard. It is why we should support Google staff and more tech workers should join a union.”
Workplace Rights And Equality Is A Growing Issue
— Cathal Curry (@CurryCathal) November 1, 2018
The issues being raised by Google employees in the walkout have featured prominently over the last year.
Last week sexual harassment in the workplace was brought to the fore by the revelation that Sir Philip Green has been using non-disclosure agreements to suppress allegations of sexual harassment and racist bullying.
Last month a report highlighted young women face a significant gender pay gap and sexual harassment in the workplace.
The race pay gap and equal treatment of ethnic minorities employees is a growing issue too. In September data published by NHS Digital revealed salaries of ethnic minority staff are significantly lower than white staff.
The detailed study of the earnings of 750,000 staff highlighted that on average black doctors are paid just under £10,000 less than white doctors while black nurses are paid £2700 less than white nurse.
Earlier this year the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s pay audit of public employees in the capital highlighted that ethnic minorities face a shocking pay gap of up to 37%.