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Google fires 28 employees who protested its cloud contract with Israeli government

Google said on Thursday it has terminated 28 employees after some staff participated in protests against the company’s cloud contract with the Israeli government.

The Alphabet unit said a small number of protesting employees entered and disrupted work at a few unspecified office locations.

“Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies and completely unacceptable behaviour,” the company said in a statement.

Google said it had concluded individual investigations, resulting in the termination of 28 employees, and would continue to investigate and take action as needed.

Nine Google workers who participated in the protest were reportedly arrested after staging sit-ins at several of the company’s offices, including one at the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.

The company separately announced on Wednesday that it would lay off an unspecified number of employees, following a slew of job cuts across Google and the tech and media industry this year.

‘Flagrant act of retaliation,’ some workers say

In a statement on Medium, Google workers affiliated with the No Tech for Apartheid campaign called it a “flagrant act of retaliation” and said that some employees who did not directly participate in Tuesday’s protests were also among those Google fired.

“Google workers have the right to peacefully protest about terms and conditions of our labour,” the statement added.

CBC News reached out to Google for further comment. A spokesperson for the company said that the protests “were part of a longstanding campaign by a group of organizations and people who largely don’t work at Google.”

The group posted photos and videos on social media showing workers in Google offices holding placards and sitting on the floor, chanting slogans.

The protesting faction says that Project Nimbus, a $1.2-billion contract awarded to Google and Amazon.com in 2021 to supply the Israeli government with cloud services, supports the development of military tools by the Israeli government.

In its statement, Google maintained that the Nimbus contract “is not directed at highly sensitive, classified or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

Protests at Google are not new. In 2018, workers successfully pushed the company to shelve a contract with the U.S. military, Project Maven, meant to analyze aerial drone imagery with potential application in warfare.


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