Former employees of Twitter’s only office in Africa have reportedly been “ghosted” by the company and have still not received severance pay months after being laid off, CNN reported on Monday, adding to the platform’s growing personnel problem following Elon Musk’s takeover as competition with Meta’s Threads heats up.
Terminated workers from Twitter’s office in Accra, Ghana, have still not received severance pay despite being fired as part of Musk’s severe staff cull more than seven months ago, according to CNN, citing several unnamed sources.
The platform laid off nearly all of its staff in the Ghanaian capital—around a dozen workers—just four days after the office opened in November, CNN reported, some of whom had moved to Ghana for the job and relied on it to legally remain in the country.
Former employees, who spoke anonymously due to having signed non-disclosure agreements, told CNN they had accepted Twitter’s offer to pay three months of severance, as well as legal costs incurred during negotiations and repatriation costs for foreign staff.
The former employees—who have since been settled at other locations after agreeing the terms—noted this was less than what workers elsewhere were offered but said the company wore them down by being “non-responsive” and “ghosted” them until they’d agreed to its terms.
Carla Olympio, an attorney representing the former employees, told CNN there has been little progress since, adding that Twitter never finalized the offer and has maintained “complete silence” since May, shortly after the settlement was agreed.
A spokesperson for Ghana’s Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations told CNN it is investigating the claims and Twitter responded to SME’ Request for comment using an automated poop emoji.
The Key Background
Musk set about drastically reducing Twitter’s headcount almost immediately after he controversially acquired the platform for $44 billion in 2022. The cuts were deep—from 8,000 staff to around 1,500, a reduction of around 80%—and Musk said he had no choice given the need to cut costs. Musk also made other unpopular platform changes, such as changing the verification process, adding a paid platform, and overhauling the content moderation guidelines. This left users and regulators worried that Twitter might not be able to maintain its platform or comply with its legal obligations. Since Musk’s takeover, advertisers have reportedly left the platform by the thousands, ad revenues are down, and users are moving to rivals, notably neophyte competitor Threads. Tightly linked to Meta’s Instagram, Threads has managed to notch up more than 100 million users in less than a week and is shaping up to be one of Twitter’s biggest threats.
Watch Out For
Musk and Twitter have already been sued over mass layoffs. This includes the discrimination, refusal of bonuses and severance payments to employees. Courtney McMillian, the former head of Twitter’s employee benefits program, filed a class action lawsuit last week alleging the company has refused to pay at least $500 million in pledged severance under a policy the company created in 2019. The lawsuit alleges that many Twitter employees received less or nothing at all, despite the agreement.
$250.4 billion. That’s how much SMEEstimates Musk’s net worth according to real time tracking. Musk’s fortune places him at the very top of SME’ list of the world’s richest people, respectively leading French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the second and third richest people in the world, by around $11 billion and $93 billion. Musk’s wealth largely comes from his stake in electric carmaker Tesla, part of a cadre of valuable companies he cofounded that also includes rocket firm SpaceX, brain interface company Neuralink and tunneling enterprise Boring Company.
Musk says Twitter ads plummet as battle with Threads heats up (SME).
Laid-off Twitter Africa team ‘ghosted’ without severance pay or benefits, former employees say (CNN)
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