Reuters reports that more than 200 workers were laid off from the Zürich, Switzerland, branch of the company this week. The employees at that office walked out for a second time in protest of the move and even offered to take pay cuts or reduce working hours to stave off the job cuts.
However, it is widely believed that Google does not need to make savings but is arranging a few token sackings to keep Wall Street happy, so having staff work harder makes no odds. The issue here is that Google is used to treating staff the way it likes, and unfortunately there are laws in Europe which prevent them being on the level of evil to which they aspire.
Many of the Swiss workers that walked out in protest are members of the IT workers' union Syndicom, and a union spokesperson told Reuters, "Our members at Google Zürich and all employees joining the walkout are showing solidarity with those laid off. They are bothered by the non-transparent nature of the layoffs and are especially disappointed that Google is laying off workers at a time when the company is making billions in profit every year."
Another issue which will prove to be a mess for Google is that it decided not to honour pre-approved leave for laid-off employees so those who were on medical or parental leave at the time the search engine made its announcement are in trouble.
While employees' severance packages might come with a few more months of health insurance, being fired means instantly losing access to Google's facilities. If that's where a laid-off Googler's primary care doctor works, that person is out of luck, and some employees told CNBC they lost access to their doctors the second the layoff email arrived. Employees on leave also have a lot to deal with. One former Googler, Kate Howells, said she was let go by Google from her hospital bed shortly after giving birth. She worked at the company for nine years.