Accenture to pay Irish Google outsourcing staff living wage

12 October 2018 Authored by Consultancy.uk

Following mounting criticism in the court of public opinion, the Irish wing of global consulting firm Accenture has announced it will henceforth pay a living wage to its outsourced staff working on projects for Google. The consultancy had been scrutinised by the media for its treatment of staff involved in the project, including the compensation employees received for working nightshifts.

Dublin-registered consulting firm Accenture has crafted a close-knit relationship with technology giant Google in recent years. The firm is recognised as a keystone partner of the Google Cloud network, and earlier this year the two entities launched a new business group together. While this looks to continue into the future, however, a growing number of aspects of the relationship have been subjected to scrutiny in recent months. In particular, Google’s use of Accenture as an outsourcer in Ireland has been the subject of a number of headlines. 

Accenture came under fire for its pay and conditions offered to those working on projects for Google in Ireland. Stories in The Sunday Times had revealed low pay and stressful conditions among outsourced staff. According to those reports, many staff working on Google projects were paid €11.06 an hour, below the living wage of €11.70* that social justice researchers state is the minimum which workers require to have an acceptable standard of living. These staff were situated in the EastPoint business park, and while they were employed directly by Hays, a recruitment company, they were managed by Accenture.

Accenture to pay Irish Google outsourcing staff living wage

In the week leading on from the breaking of the story, Accenture initially handed staff an extra 5% for working late shifts, while all staff working night shifts were permitted to book taxis home through a company account. Previously a number of these employees had been made to pay upfront for cabs and wait weeks to be reimbursed. Following on from that, by April, sources at Accenture reported to the press that Accenture increased the minimum hourly rate for outsourced Google workers to €11.90 an hour. Talking to the Times, the sources suggested the decision to increase wages was a direct reaction to media coverage.

Accenture has since confirmed that it is indeed now paying the living wage to all outsourced staff working on projects for Google in Ireland. Alex Ross, media relations and corporate communications lead for Accenture in Europe, the Middle East and Africa stated, “I can confirm now that all our people in Ireland are paid above the living wage.”

Accenture said it “reviews compensation on an on-going basis and makes adjustments, as needed, as markets and business conditions change.” Elsewhere, Google said one of its criteria for suppliers was its code of conduct in providing “appropriate level of wages, benefits, and safe working conditions”. However, when asked by the press, the company declined to release details of a review it conducted into its outsourced workers’ pay and working conditions in Ireland.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Google and Accenture was subject to further scrutiny earlier in 2018. At the time, a complaint from Carlos Maciá, an outsourced worker in EastPoint business park, alleged that he was told not to use a Google helpline to report a worker he believed was harassing staff. Google promised to investigate, however Maciá told the UK broadsheet The Times that he has received no contact from Google since he went public with his story.

* The living wage at that time was €11.70, however in July 2018 that was set at €11.90 by researchers working for the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice.

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