Google Korea workers have formed a union this week with the Korea Finance & Service Workers Union (KFSWU). The union held its first general meeting on 11 April, where it elected its leadership.
The push to organize began after Google’s parent company Alphabet announced a 6 per cent cut to its global workforce, or around 12,000 employees, in January. In early March, Google Korea notified employees about layoffs.
KIM Jong-sub, who was elected president of the Google Korea Workers Union, said, “As the wind of layoffs continues to sweep the U.S. IT industry, employees who are feeling the pain of unilateral dismissals and continuous job insecurity have been sparked into action, and since last month, we have been working hard to establish our union.”
The union notes that Google Korea has been called a “dream workplace” for years, but like other big tech companies — Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and Meta — the dream is over.
The union plans to organize hundreds of workers at Google Korea and Google Cloud Korea to protect labour rights at the company. The KFSWU already has members at Oracle, Hewlett Packard, SAP, and Microsoft Korea. Google Korea workers union will be the fifth multinational IT or tech corporation organized in Korea.
“We welcome Google Korea workers to the union family and congratulate them on taking this step,” said Rajendra Acharya, Regional Secretary of UNI Asia & Pacific. “Google workers throughout Asia – and throughout the world – are organizing because they want a voice, and they want to put an end to this ongoing precarity. We stand with them.”
UNI Global Union is helping Google worker unions coordinate demands and actions across national borders.