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[New] Updated FAQ about layoff
[New] Jan 9th AU Branch 2023 Activity Report

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The Problems with Google’s Layoffs That You Should Know About

(auto translated by chatGPT)

Google has carried out large-scale layoffs affecting approximately 12,000 people worldwide. Google Japan is no exception, with about 6% of the employees, around 200 people, persumed to be targeted. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has sent an email to the staff stating that the company will comply with the laws in each country. However, the organizational restructuring conducted in Japan has shown many flaws. Especially egregious is that employees on maternity or parental leave are also being targeted. This has led to voices from employees saying they cannot comfortably have children under these circumstances. We have categorized the major issues into three main points…… Read the full article

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Jan 9th AU Branch 2023 Activity Report

We will be reporting on AU branch’s activities for the year 2023, including our efforts leading up to the Labor Bureau’s illegal judgment.
Please note that this session will not be recorded for the safety of participants.
If you find this information valuable and wish to support our ongoing activities, please consider joining or contributing to our crowdfunding.

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Union Activity about Recommendation of Resignation During Pat/Mat Leave

Illegality of the layoff itself

In Japan, companies are not allowed to unilaterally dismiss employees, except under special circumstances. As a result, the most common form of resignation during reorganization is a ‘recommendation of resignation’ This occurs when a company thoroughly explains the situation to an employee and reaches a mutual agreement for resignation. However, applying coercive pressure to make an employee sign a resignation agreement against their will is known as ‘forced resignation’ and is considered an illegal act.
The solicitation to resign made to the targeted individuals on March 2nd was unlawfully pressuring employees to resign, exceeding the bounds of standard resignation requests. Under Japanese law, employees have the right to resign voluntarily without undue pressure from the employer. The email sent contained messages like, “Your role has been impacted by workforce reductions” and “You will receive an additional payment if you choose to sign the Agreement within 14 days from today. You will continue to have access to the corporate network during this period” This is subtly suggested that rejecting their offer might lead to a loss of access to the internal system, which is seens as an indirect way of forcing employees out.

Subsequently, documents regarding the early retirement package were repeatedly sent to the targeted individuals every two days. HR accepted meetings with a friendly tone, but when the targeted individuals asked what happens if the declined, HR did not provide clear information about the consequences of declining the offer. Two days before the deadline of the early retirement package, on 3/14, an additional email was sent stating, “If you have not signed your Agreement, we will begin a process to adjust your role scope, which may also result in reduced access to Google’s systems” This led to the misconception that “If I refuse, I’ll face the same lockout layoffs that happened at the headquarters in January.”

The union requested administrative guidance from the Labor Department. Administrative guidance is issued by an administrative agency to a company that has committed an illegal act, with the aim of rectifying the illegal act. This request was approved, and consequently, the Labor Bureau identified an illegal act and initiated administrative guidance.

Related Article:
グーグル社員の告白「退職する以外に選択肢はなかった」。育休中社員が語ったこと (4/18 Business Insider)
Business Insider Japan グーグルの退職勧奨を東京労働局が「違反」認定、労働組合が発表。産休・育休中の社員めぐり グーグル日本法人による退職勧奨、育休・産休中の社員に実施は「違法」…組合側が発表
Mainichi 人員削減のグーグル日本法人が団体交渉を拒否 労組が救済申し立て

Illegality of not responding to negotiations with the union

The company also committed further illegal acts. Collective bargaining is a negotiation process between union and their employer, and is fundamental part of communication between workers and the company. Under Japanese lae, it is legally protected as a right of the labor union. It is considered an act of unfair labor practice(1) if a company refuses to respond to a collective bargaining request without a valid reason or does not provide a sincere explanation during the collective bargaining process. The company has a duty to respond to the demands of the labor union or explain why it cannot comply if unable to do so.

The Alphabet Union has submitted three collective bargaining proposals to the company regarding this round of layoffs. However, the company prematurely ended the bargaining process after only two sessions, and without providing sufficient explanation, refused the third request. The company did not provide detailed reasons for their decisions, leaving the union’s concerns unaddressed. Collective Barganing History

Regarding this matter, we filed a relief request with the Tokyo Labor Bureau on November 14th.

Collective bargaining is crucial to prevent unethical and illegal actions. Illegal actions against unions that refuse to collectively bargain, and illegal actions against individual workers, such as this recent layoff, both reflect a company’s disregard for legal compliance. We need to address these two types of illegal acts on both fronts.

A labor commission relief request(2) is like a lawsuit for labor unions. and it also incurs attorney fees. Your contributions, in the form of donations, can greatly assist us. To support our legal efforts, including the consts of attorney fees, we welcome donations. Refer to a crowdfunding campaign closed on Jan 12th for more detail.

(1) Unfair Labor Practice: Actions by an employer that violates unions’ rights under labow law.
(2) Labor Commission Relief Request: Unions can request relief to labor comission when they believe that the company has committed illegal unfailr labor practice against union. It can take up to a year and a half. If they find the company at fault, Labor Commission can order the company to rectify the situation. In our case, we requested company to have collective barganing and send an apology email to union in internal mailing list.

Collective Barganing History

Jan 22nd the First Hearing Session Report

We had the first session with the Tokyo Labor Committee on Jan 22nd 2024.
We pointed out that it’s illegal unfair treatment that the company refused collective bargaining without adequately explaining the layoffs conducted in March 2023. We also claimed that denying the union access to mailing lists and meeting room facilities — which are readily available to club activities without scrutiny — constitutes illegal discrimination against the union. This leads to a chilling effect where employees fear being targeted by the company for joining the union. Google Japan should rectify this damage done to the union.
Google Japan’s answer file was minimal and basic. The Labor Commission has requested the company to submit specific factual claims by the next session.
The next session is scheduled for 10:30 AM JST on March 18th.

Date: March 18th, 2024
Time: 10:30 AM - 12:00 AM
Tokyo Metropolitan Government First Main Building
2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
South(S) Tower, 38th Floor

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Related article:
Mainichi 人員削減のグーグル日本法人が団体交渉を拒否 労組が救済申し立て

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Letter from the impacted employee

(auto translated by chatGPT)

I received the email from the company while I was on maternity leave,
just when my baby had turned two months old, and my elder child was three years old.
It was during the morning feeding, a rare moment when I happened to check my seldomly viewed emails.
The message was from someone I had never heard of before, stating,
“We will have an interview regarding your employment with Google.”
My mind went blank, unable to comprehend what was happening.
At that time, I was still in the midst of nightly feedings—ten times a night—frequent diaper changes,
soothing cuddles, baths, all while simultaneously caring for my three-year-old daughter.
My body and mind were still recovering postpartum, and I was struggling to get enough sleep.
As I held my crying baby, I couldn’t afford the time to read the email at length, only managing to glance over it between care tasks.
I understood it to be a non-negotiable dismissal notice that began with “Unfortunately.”
I felt abruptly discarded by the company, overwhelmed with anxiety and stress during feedings,
fearing it might affect my milk supply and my infant's ability to focus and grow.
Crushed by a multitude of fears and uncertainties, the day came to sign the papers, and I felt coerced into signing.
During such a critical and precious time in the life of a parent and a zero-year-old child,
I never imagined Google would take such a harsh approach......Read Full Letter

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11/14 Notification from the Labor Bureau of Illegal Conduct

We have received notification from the Labor Bureau regarding the layoff conducted on March 2nd. Following our request for guidance submitted to the Labor Bureau on May 25th, they acknowledged illegal actions and provided guidance(1). The union’s claim involved illegal pressure to resign, exceeding the legal framework for suggesting retirement, especially towards employees on maternity or paternity leave. The Labor Bureau did not disclose specific details of the recognized illegal actions. They reported that they would administer administrative guidance(1) and, if no improvement is seen within a certain period, would issue a correction recommendation(2). Currently, under the mediation of the Labor Bureau, negotiations for a settlement are underway……Read Full History

(1) Administrative Guidance(行政指導): In Japan, this is a process where government agencies advise or suggest how company should comply with laws.
(2) Correction Recommendation(是正勧告): This is a more formal step. If a company doesn’t follow the administrative guidance, the government agance may issue a correction recommendation. This is a formal request to change practices or correct legal violations.

Related Articles:
Business Insider Japan グーグルの退職勧奨を東京労働局が「違反」認定、労働組合が発表。産休・育休中の社員めぐり グーグル日本法人による退職勧奨、育休・産休中の社員に実施は「違法」…組合側が発表
Mainichi 人員削減のグーグル日本法人が団体交渉を拒否 労組が救済申し立て

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Join us

For a labor union, the number of union members directly translates into its strength. Anyone working for a company under Alphabet, regardless of employment type, is eligible to join. Growing and strengthening the union is the only way to communicate on equal terms with the company and win workers’ rights. Please consider joining for your own sake, and to prevent aggressive layoffs.
If you are considering joining the union, please contact the email address below to arrange a meeting time. We will explain the terms and conditions and the application process.
Refer to this FAQs as well.

message from union members

The action of joining union itself is very empowering to me. Members are coming together and sharing our power and love, this is creating a stronger mental strength. In a time when there are more and more suffering in this world, partnership and community is really what we need and can lean into. I joined the union to be part of the creation of this community, and wish more people can benefit from this community, and as it grows bigger, it serves more and more of you. Your simple action of filling out the application form to join, will make a change. —Kangaroo

Upon entering my workplace, my sole focus was to work hard and excel. But with time, I began to understand the crucial role our labor union plays. They champion fair treatment, ensure our safety, and advocate tirelessly for our individual rights, which truly moved me to support their cause. Now, as a member, I contribute in ways that fit my capabilities, and I am proud to be part of such a collective. Why not join us in shaping a better workplace by becoming a union member? —Sasano K

In the workplace, sometimes we face unfair treatment or bullying. When feeling cornered and unsure of what to do, receiving support from a union can be incredibly reassuring and invaluable, beyond what words can express. When subjected to unfair and unjust treatment, you should not just endure it; instead, raise your voice and protest. You should not suffer in silence. You have the right to be treated fairly. Correcting these wrongful acts and environments will make our workplaces and society better. Won’t you join us in this effort? —Seninbari


membership application form



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Labor Consultation

The labor union deals with all kinds of work-related issues, from major societal issues such as encouraging resignation and harassment, to small inconveniences at work such as office supplies or remote work.
The labor union will always keep secrets. Please use it as one option of the consultation services.

An example of a labor consultation:

A consulting party, who has a child with a disability certificate, came to seek advice because they were denied the use of Family Emergency Leave for their child’s regular medical appointments. They were told that “Family Emergency Leave is intended for unexpected situations and cannot be used for regular medical appointments.” We advised them that in Japan, employees are guaranteed Caregiver Leave and Nursing Leave, and that Google Japan positions Family Emergency Leave as part of the usage for these two leaves. We also pointed out that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s website states that these leaves can be used for accompanying regular medical appointments. As a result, the consulting party was able to obtain Family Emergency Leave, and the “urgent” designation was removed from the explanation of Family Emergency Leave on myGoogle.

JMITU AU branch

FAQs about layoff

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We are operating on a volunteer basis. There are various expenses involved, such as transportation costs, printing fees, and postage fees.
Even a small donation would be greatly appreciated. Your support will be used for union activities.

Bank account

中央労働金庫(中央労金) Chuo Labour Bank branch number: 296 account number: 162695 account name: JMITU Alphabetユニオン支部
ジェイエムアイティーユー アルファベット ユニオン シブ

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JMITU AU branch


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External Resources

Activity of our Branch

online petition

Upper organization

JMITU Central Headquarters
JMITU West Tokyo regional council

Tokyo Branches

IBM branch
Santama area branch
Ohta area branch
Tokyo Measuring Instruments Laboratory branch
North area branch
Sega Group branch


Tokyo Regional Council of Trade Unions
Alphabet Workers Union

News Articles about our Activity グーグル日本法人による退職勧奨、育休・産休中の社員に実施は「違法」…組合側が発表
Business Insider Japan グーグルの退職勧奨を東京労働局が「違反」認定、労働組合が発表。産休・育休中の社員めぐり
Mainichi 人員削減のグーグル日本法人が団体交渉を拒否 労組が救済申し立て
グーグルの労働組合「育休・産休社員への退職勧奨は不当」と訴え。少なくとも6人が該当 (6/7 Business Insider)
グーグルがマタハラ 産休・育休中の従業員に退職促す JMITU 労働局に指導要請 (6/7 Shimbun Akahata)
育休中に退職勧奨 元社員、グーグルへ指導要請 (6/7 Mainichi)
グーグル、育休社員にも退職勧奨 大規模リストラの一環で (6/6 Kyodo News)
グーグル社員の告白「退職する以外に選択肢はなかった」。育休中社員が語ったこと (4/18 Business Insider)
グーグル日本法人の〝大規模〟リストラに従業員ら反発 初の労組結成、団体交渉 (4/15 The weekly Friday) グーグル日本 労組結成の思い (3/29 Shimbun Akahata)
日本グーグルに労組 JMITU支部 同意ない解雇やめよ (3/2 Shimbun Akahata)

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