Fired employees at Twitter’s Africa headquarters accused Twitter of “willfully and recklessly violating Ghana’s laws” and then attempting to “silence and intimidate” them. they were fired.
The team has hired a lawyer and sent a letter to the company requesting this comply with the labor laws of the West African nation, provide them with additional severance pay and other relevant benefits, in line with what else Twitter staff will receive.
They have also asked the Ghanaian government to force Twitter “to comply with Ghana’s dismissal laws and to offer employees fair and equitable trial and dismissal compensation,” according to a letter to the country’s chief labor officer, seen by CNN .
“It is clear that Twitter, Inc. under Mr. Elon Musk is either intentionally or recklessly violating the laws of Ghana, acting in bad faith and in a manner that seeks to silence and intimidate former employees into unilaterally reporting to them accept imposed conditions,” the letter reads.
Twitter fired all but one African employee just four days after the company opened a Office in the capital Accra the following Musk’s takeover. But the dozen or so workers have not been offered a severance package, which they say is required by Ghana’s labor law based on their employment contracts. They also claim that – unlike staffers in the United States and Europe – they were only briefed on next steps a day after CNN reported their situation.
CNN contacted Twitter for comment but received no response.
In the letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd, obtained by CNN, the African employees reject a “Ghana Mutual Separation Agreement” from Twitter, which they say was sent to their personal emails to offer final payment the company claims to have arrived after negotiation.
Several members of the team and their attorney told CNN that there were no such settlement negotiations. They claim it’s below legal requirements and contradict what Musk tweeted that leaving employees would receive.
“Each who left was offered 3 months severance pay, which is 50% more than the law requires,” Musk tweeted. Twitter told Ghana-based employees in early November that they would be paid until their final day of employment – December 4. And they would continue to receive full salary and benefits during the 30-day notice period.
“It was very vague, didn’t talk about pending vacation or paid time off, and only asked us to sign if we agreed. I never bothered 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, not being transparent and discriminating against them compared to laid-off employees in other jurisdictions.
“Staff are distressed, humiliated and intimidated by this turn of events. There are non-Ghanaian staff, some with young families, who moved here to take jobs and have now been summarily abandoned with no repatriation costs and no way to communicate with Twitter, Inc. and discuss or argue their case”, it says in the message to Ghana’s Chief Labor Officer.
Her lawyer, Carla Olympio, says the sudden dismissal of almost the entire team violated Ghanaian labor law, as it is considered a “dismissal” requiring three months’ notice to the authorities and a severance deal negotiation.
“In stark contrast to the corporate assurances given to Twitter employees worldwide prior to the acquisition, it appears that there has been little attempt to comply with Ghana’s labor laws and the worker protections it provides when companies face mass layoffs as a result of a restructuring or reorganization” , she wrote in a statement to CNN.
The staff said in their appeal to Ghana’s chief labor officer that Twitter’s formal entry into the continent began with “great fanfare and with government support”. and they now expect similar attention to their plight.
They are demanding 3 months gross salary as severance pay, repatriation costs for non-Ghanaian employees, exercise of stock options provided for in their contracts and other benefits such as continued health care that have been offered to employees worldwide.
CNN has reached out to Ghana’s Department of Employment and Industrial Relations for comment.