The dismissed employees of Twitter’s Africa headquarters accuse Twitter of “deliberately and recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana” and trying to “silence and intimidate them” after their dismissal.
The team hired a lawyer and sent a letter to the company demanding it comply with the labor laws of the West African nation, provide them with additional severance pay and other relevant benefits, in line with what other Twitter employees will receive.
They also called on the Ghanaian government to compel Twitter to “adhere to Ghana’s severance laws and provide employees with fair and equitable bargaining and severance pay,” according to a letter to the country’s labor director obtained by CNN. .
“It is clear that Twitter, Inc. under the direction of Mr. Elon Musk is willfully or recklessly flouting the laws of Ghana, acting in bad faith and in a manner that seeks to silence and intimidate former employees so that they accept any conditions unilaterally imposed on them,” the letter reads.
Twitter has fired all but one of its African employees just four days after the company opened a physical office in the capital Accra following Musk’s takeover. But the staff of about a dozen have not received severance pay, which they say is required by Ghana’s labor laws, based on their employment contracts. They also claim they weren’t told about the next steps – unlike employees in the US and Europe – until a day after CNN reported on their situation.
CNN reached out to Twitter for comment but received no response.
In the letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd, obtained by CNN, the African employees rejected a “Ghana Mutual Separation Agreement” from Twitter, which they said was sent to their personal emails offering the latest salary that the company claims to have been reached after negotiation.
Several team members and their lawyers told CNN that there were no such negotiations over severance packages. They claim it was below what is required by law and contradicts what Musk tweeted that departing employees would receive.
“Everyone who walked out was offered 3 months severance pay, 50% more than legally required,” Musk tweeted. Twitter informed Ghana-based employees in early November that they would be paid until their last day of employment, December 4. And they will continue to receive their full salary and benefits during the 30-day notice period.
“It was very vague, didn’t talk about pending leave or paid leave, and just asked us to sign if we were ok with it. I never bothered to go back on the document because it’s bullshit and still breaking 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, of not being transparent and of discriminating against them compared to employees made redundant in other jurisdictions.
“Employees are shocked, humiliated and intimidated by this turn of events. There are non-Ghanaian employees, some with young families, who have moved here to take up jobs and who are now left unceremoniously left behind without any provision for repatriation costs and no way to communicate with Twitter, Inc. and discuss or plead their case,” said the notice to the Labor Director of Ghana.
Their lawyer, Carla Olympio, claims the sudden dismissal of almost the entire team violated Ghanaian labor law as it is considered a “dismissal” which requires three months’ notice to the authorities and negotiation over severance pay. dismissal.
“Contrary to internal company assurances given to Twitter employees worldwide prior to the takeover, it appears that little effort has been made to comply with Ghana’s labor laws and the protections therein. dedicated for workers in circumstances where companies are making mass layoffs due to restructuring or reorganization,” she wrote in a statement to CNN.
Employees said in their appeal to Ghana’s Labor Director that Twitter’s formal entry into the continent had begun “with great fanfare and government support”. and they now expect the same attention.
They demand 3 months gross salary as severance pay, repatriation costs for non-Ghanaian staff, vesting of stock options provided for in their contracts and other benefits such as continuation of health care that has been provided to staff around the world.
CNN has contacted Ghana’s Ministry of Employment and Workplace Relations for comment.