THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
March 3, 2023 at 16:07 JST
Members of Google Japan Union shows the email proposing the “resignation package” that Google’s Japanese arm sent them at a news conference in Tokyo on March 2. (Jumpei Miura)
Google’s global restructuring has reached its workforce in Japan, with many employees receiving an email about early resignation options on March 2.
“We will pay you salary worth around 90 days of wages up to May 31,” the email stated. “We will make additional payments if you agree to resign within 14 days.”
Members of Google Japan Union, which several dozens of employees of Google’s Japanese arm founded last month, made the email public at a news conference in Tokyo on the same day.
The email doesn’t say what will occur if the employees don’t respond to it.
However, Akai Jinbu, secretary-general of an organization called Tokyo managers union, at which Google Japan Union is headquartered, said Google’s Japanese arm “will set up interviews between (the email’s recipients) and their managers. Communication between them will then be made.
“The email is effectively encouraging many to resign and that is unforgivable.”
Google's parent company, a U.S. company called Alphabet Inc., announced in January that it would cut jobs globally.
In the United States, many of its employees were notified of having been fired via a single email, which upset staff at its Japanese subsidiary.
In February, Google’s Japanese arm emailed its staff to say, “Some action could be taken in March, at the earliest.”
That prompted some of the staff members to form the Google Japan Union.
The union is demanding that Google Japan agree to participate in collective bargaining with its members, according to Jinbu.
The union is ready to fight the job cuts “with any means available,” Jinbu said.
Around 10 employees of Google’s Japanese subsidiary attended the March 2 news conference.
They are of varied nationalities with some coming to Japan to work for Google’s Japanese arm, while others had lived in the country prior to the company hiring them.
Some might not be able to stay in Japan if they stop working for Google’s Japanese arm and lose their work visa.
A 29-year-old American who works for the company said at the news conference that it’s frightening that her life here could disappear so easily and that she is worried every day.
Another staff member, Ryo Hashimoto, 36, said at the news conference that when he had a job interview with the company 12 years ago, he spoke to the interviewer about his concerns over the bad reputation of foreign companies.
When he had apparently told the interviewer, “Because (Google is) a foreign company, might it fire its employees more easily?”
The interviewer had replied, “You don’t need to have such concerns. Google is a company that cherishes its employees,” according to Hashimoto.
“The email didn’t say the reason for the job cuts or how it chose employees (to fire),” Hashimoto said.
Google's Japanese arm did not respond to a request from The Asahi Shimbun for an interview on the restructuring.
(This article was written by Kentaro Uechi and Junki Watanabe.)
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