Google is trying to lay off some employees in South Korea, but they refuse to go

Google is trying to lay off some employees in South Korea, but they refuse to go

Tech corporations including Amazon and Google are trying to downsize their Korean operations, but everything is going according to plan. The Korea JoongAng Daily notes that the large-scale job-cutting plan announced by many companies a year ago has run into serious problems in Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan, with local legal systems imposing strict layoff rules and unions actively resisting.

Google Korea has about 800 employees. The publication does not say how many of them were planned to be cut, but it has information that “about 10 employees” of Google’s Korean office have resigned since last year. At the same time, some of the specialists who were recommended by the employer to leave their jobs continue to work. The point is that “recommended dismissal” is different from forced dismissal, which prevails in the US, because it allows the employee to stay in his place, rejecting the employer’s offer to quit.

The specifics of the local labor market are explained by Insider, referring to KangNam, a company specializing in labor law: Korean law does not allow employers who have five or more employees to fire them without a valid reason. For the dismissal to be legal, the company must prove that it has reasonable grounds, such as a serious lack of finances. An employee can file a complaint if he believes that the employer has reduced him without valid reasons; and as a result, the employer faces punishment, including a fine. According to Google Korea union leader Kim Jung-sub, a one-time layoff recommendation is legal, but when it is repeated over and over again, it can fall into the category of unfair labor practices.

The union, which represents more than 100 of Google’s 800 full-time employees in Korea, said it aims to respond to the layoffs. However, he does not yet have information on how many people are planned to be cut in the local office. The Google Workers’ Union of Korea is a branch of the umbrella union organization Korea Finance and Services Workers’ Union, which also includes members of Microsoft Korea and SAP Korea.

The union now plans to strike a deal with Google to provide job guarantees and seek “voluntary severance” instead of workers accepting a recommendation to resign. Voluntary resignation means more bonuses and even early retirement.

According to Amazon Korea JoongAng Daily, the company has not cut jobs in AWS Korea, but is trying to use the method of silent cuts, where employers simply demote employees.

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