Google will pay its data center contractors a promised bonus that was introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and then suddenly stopped.

The company had originally told employees of contractor Modis that they would receive $200 extra a week until the end of the year, if they worked a full week. Then it stopped sending the payments by October, including promised back pay.

Following the sudden stoppage - which Modis said was due to Google managers raising issues with the scheme - the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA threatened action.

– Google

The New York Times reports that the temps and contractors sent more than 100 messages and emails to managers over the lost pay. They arranged a videoconference of 130 data center workers discussing possible action, with some even suggesting work stoppage.

“Temps, vendors, and contractors (TVCs) are scared and feel replaceable all of the time,” former Google/Modis data center contractor Shannon Wait told DCD in our six-month investigation into worker abuses and labor rights violations at the company's data centers.

She added: “Together, they're so strong.”

In the US, Google Modis contractors usually receive around $15 an hour, and are given few of the benefits afforded to full-time Google staffers. TVCs originally filled additional roles at the company's data centers, but have increasingly become the backbone of the cloud provider's operations.

"Never have I ever been at a data center that didn't have TVCs, and it's usually a large portion of the workforce," a Google employee told DCD, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. "They're not hiring Level 1 data center technicians anymore. That's going to be a role completely filled by temps."

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Google illegally underpaid thousands of temporary workers in 16 countries, with more than $100 million thought to be owed. The company discovered it was breaking the law, and unduly impoverishing its workers, but tried to cover up the failure rather than pay its workers the correct wage.

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