Twitter Africa employees accuse Elon Musk of discrimination over severance terms



CNN Business

Laid-off employees at Twitter’s Africa headquarters accuse Twitter of “willfully and recklessly violating the laws of Ghana” and attempting to “silence and intimidate” them after they were fired.

The team hired an attorney and sent a letter to the company demanding it Comply with labor laws in the West African country, and provide them with additional severance pay and other related benefits, in line with what other Twitter employees would receive.

They also petitioned the Ghanaian government to compel Twitter to “comply with Ghana’s laws on layoffs and offer employees fair and equitable negotiated pay and layoffs,” according to a letter to the country’s chief labor official obtained by CNN.

“It is clear that Twitter, Inc. headed by Mr. Elon Musk is either willfully or recklessly violating the laws of Ghana, operating in bad faith and in a manner that seeks to silence and intimidate former employees into accepting any terms unilaterally thrown at them,” the letter states.

Twitter laid off all but one African employee just four days after the company opened a physical office in the capital, Accra, following Musk’s takeover. But about a dozen employees have not been offered severance pay, which they say is required under Ghana’s labor laws, based on their employment contracts. They also claim that they were not informed of the next steps – unlike employees in the US and Europe – until a day after CNN reported their situation.

CNN has reached out to Twitter for comment but has not received a response.

In the letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd, obtained by CNN, the African employees rejected Twitter’s “Ghana Mutual Separation Agreement”, which they said was sent to their personal emails for a final salary offer they would pay. The company claims that it has been reached after negotiation.

Several team members and their attorneys told CNN that there was no such negotiation of severance pay. They claim it is less than required by law and contradicts what Musk said on Twitter that the departing employees will receive.

“Everyone who got out of it got 3 months of compensation, which is 50% more than legally required,” Musk wrote in a tweet. Twitter informed Ghanaian-based employees in early November that they would be paid until their last working day – December 4th. They will continue to receive full salary and benefits during the 30 day notice period.

“It was very vague, didn’t talk about suspended leave or paid leave, and only asked us to sign if we agreed. I didn’t bother going back to the document because it’s rubbish and it still violates labor laws here,” a former employee told CNN on condition of anonymity. .

The Accra-based team accuses Twitter of dealing with them in bad faith, lack of transparency and discriminating against them compared to laid-off employees in other jurisdictions.

“Staff are saddened, humiliated and intimidated by this turn of events. There are non-Ghanaian staff, some with young families, who moved here to take jobs and are now left unofficially in the lurch, with no provision for repatriation expenses and no way to connect with Twitter,” Inc. and discuss or plead a case,” The notification to the Chief Labor Officer of Ghana says:

Their lawyer, Carla Olympio, says the abrupt termination of almost the entire team violated Ghanaian labor law because it is considered “redundancy” which requires three months’ notice to the authorities and negotiations over redundancy pay.

In stark contrast to the company’s internal assurances given to Twitter employees around the world prior to the acquisition, little attempt appears to have been made to comply with Ghana’s labor laws, and the protections afforded therein for workers in circumstances where companies are making mass layoffs due to restructuring or reorganization. regulation,” she wrote in a statement to CNN.

In their appeal to Ghana’s labor chief, employees said Twitter’s official entry into the continent began with “great fanfare and with the support of the government”. They expect equal attention for their plight now.

They are claiming 3 months lump sum salary as severance pay, repatriation expenses for non-Ghanaian employees, entitlement to stock options stipulated in their contracts, and other benefits such as continued health care that has been provided to employees around the world.

CNN has reached out to Ghana’s Ministry of Labor and Labor Relations for comment.

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