Google employees to join first tech trade union
STAFF from Google and other big digital companies are set to join Britain’s first tech trade union, amid growing employee activism.
The United Tech and Allied Workers was launched yesterday, as a branch of the Communication Workers Union, with the aim of “representing and fighting for workers’ interests in the tech industry”.
About 30 people are already thought to have joined the union from companies including Samsung, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
Organisers said they were expecting at least 100 people to sign up over the next few months. The creation of the
UK’s first tech union follows growing unrest among digital workers over issues such as safety and discrimination – primarily in the US.
During the spring of this year, Amazon’s US warehouse employees staged protests over working conditions which they claimed were putting their health at risk.
Amazon responded by saying it had put in place safety measures across its sites, including promoting social distancing and more frequent cleaning.
Google has been hit by a series of walkouts across the world, most notably in 2018 when an estimated 20,000 staff took part in a protest over claims of sexual harassment and gender inequality. At the time, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said the company would support those who took part in the protests, adding that it took a “hard line” on sexual misconduct.
More recently, technology companies have faced accusations they are muzzling staff.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, told employees last week he only wanted them to express their views on a special area of the company’s internal messaging platform.
Facebook said: “We deeply value expression and open discussion.
“What we’ve heard from our employees is that they want the option to join debates on social and political issues rather than see them unexpectedly in their work feed.”