Recently sacked employees at Twitter’s Africa headquarters have accused Twitter of “deliberately and recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana” and trying to “silence and intimidate” them after they were laid off.
The sacked Ghanaian employees have hired a lawyer and written a letter to the company demanding its compliance with Ghana’s labour laws, offer of additional severance pay and other relevant benefits, in accordance with what other Twitter employees will receive.
In a recent letter to Ghana’s Chief Labour Officer, the workers petitioned the Ghanaian government to mandate Twitter to “adhere to the laws of Ghana on redundancy and offer the employees a fair and just negotiation and redundancy pay,”
Part of the letter read: “It is clear that Twitter, Inc. under Mr Elon Musk is either deliberately or recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana, is operating in bad faith and in a manner that seeks to silence and intimidate former employees into accepting any terms unilaterally thrown at them.”
Twitter sacked all but one of the African employees four days after it opened a physical office in Accra after Musk’s takeover.
But the staff of around a dozen people were not given severance pay, which according to them is required by Ghana’s labour laws, based on their employment contracts.
Also, they claimed they were not notified about the next steps in the company unlike employees in Europe and the United States.
In the letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd, the sacked staff rejected a “Ghana Mutual Separation Agreement” from Twitter, which according to them was sent to their personal emails offering final pay that Twitter claims to have arrived at after a negotiation.
In a statement to CNN, many members of the team said there was no such negotiation on severance pay.
They said it was lower than what is required by law and contradicts what Musk tweeted that sacked employees would receive.
Musk tweeted: “Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.”
The Ghana-based employees were notified in early November by Twitter that they would be paid until their last working day (December 4) and they would keep getting full pay and benefits during the 30-day notice period.
While talking to under the condition of anonymity, a former employee said: “It was very vague, did not talk about outstanding leave or paid time off, and just asked us to sign if we agree. I never bothered to go back to the document because it is rubbish and is still in violation of labour laws here.”
The notice to Ghana’s Chief Labour Officer says: “The employees are distressed, humiliated, and intimidated by this turn of events. There are non-Ghanaian employees, some with young families, who moved here to take up jobs and have now been left unceremoniously in the lurch, with no provision for repatriation expenses and no way to communicate with Twitter, Inc. and discuss or plead their case.”
According to the sacked workers’ attorney, Carla Olympio, the sudden termination of almost the whole team infringed Ghanaian employment law because it is considered a “redundancy” which requires three-month notice to authorities and negotiation on redundancy pay.
The laid-off staff are requesting 3 months’ gross salary as severance pay, repatriation expenses for non-Ghanaian staff, vesting of stock options stipulated in their contracts, and other benefits like healthcare continuation that were offered to staff worldwide.
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