Stranded And Stiffed: Twitter’s Culled African Staff Seek Justice

By  |  November 6, 2023

In a brewing legal battle, terminated employees of Twitter’s African office, now rebranded as X, are gearing up to sue the company, claiming they were not paid the redundancy money they were promised. Despite assurances from the social media platform, which underwent a significant overhaul after tech billionaire Elon Musk took over, the aggrieved workers say they have faced silence and broken promises.

The affected employees, numbering fewer than 20, were abruptly dismissed in November following Musk’s aggressive global downsizing campaign, which saw over 6,000 employees laid off. The African staff, who had relocated to X’s new office in Accra, Ghana, after months of remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, were left stranded, reports the BBC, with some coming from neighbouring countries like Nigeria.

According to the dismissed employees, X initially stated that they would receive one more month’s salary despite the termination of their contracts. However, they were immediately denied access to their emails, and subsequent payments never materialized. Since then, the ex-employees have engaged in a year-long struggle for compensation, leading to significant financial strain and negative impacts on their mental health.

Agency Seven Seven, the legal representation for the affected workers, reported that despite numerous negotiations and deadlines, X consistently went silent, ignoring agreements and leaving the ex-employees in limbo. The situation escalated to the point where the dismissed staff members are now preparing to take legal action against X in multiple jurisdictions.

This legal battle is not an isolated incident. X is facing a wave of lawsuits from former employees globally, totalling more than 2,200 arbitration cases as of August this year. Musk’s takeover of the company, valued at USD 44 B, has stirred discontent among ex-employees who allege non-payment of promised severance packages.

In response to the mounting legal challenges, X has shown a dismissive attitude, as demonstrated by their use of a smiling poo emoji in correspondence with media outlets. Despite Musk’s assertions of providing three months’ severance pay to laid-off employees, the African workers maintain they have yet to receive these payments.

The ongoing struggle highlights the challenges faced by employees in holding powerful tech companies accountable for their actions. As the legal battle unfolds, it remains to be seen how these employees will fare in their pursuit of rightful compensation from the multinational corporation.

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