Elon Musk has been accused by Twitter Africa employees of discriminating over time off work

CNN Business

The fired workers at Twitter’s African headquarters are accusing Twitter of “intentionally and recklessly violating Ghanaian laws” and trying to “silence and intimidate” them after they were fired.

The team requested a lawyer and sent a letter to the company Comply with the labor laws of the West African country, giving them additional severance pay and other appropriate benefits in line with what other Twitter employees would receive.

According to a letter sent to the country’s Labor Inspector General, obtained by CNN, they asked the Ghanaian government to compel Twitter to “comply with Ghana’s layoff laws and offer workers fair and equitable negotiations and severance pay.”

“It is clear that under the leadership of Mr. Elon Musk, Twitter, Inc. either intentionally or negligently violates the laws of Ghana, acts in bad faith and in a manner that seeks to silence and intimidate former employees, accept any conditions unilaterally imposed on them. ” says the letter.

Twitter fired all but one of its African employees just four days after the company opened a physical office in the capital, Accra, after Musk took over. But about a dozen workers were not offered the severance pay required by Ghana’s labor laws under their employment contracts. They also claim that, unlike workers in the US and Europe, they were not informed of next steps until a day after CNN reported their situation.

CNN reached out to Twitter for comment, but did not receive a response.

In a letter to Twitter Ghana Ltd obtained by CNN, African employees rejected a “Ghana Mutual Severance Agreement” from Twitter, which they said was sent to their personal emails offering the final payment. the company claims it came after negotiations.

Several team members and their lawyers told CNN that no such severance negotiations had taken place. They argue that this is lower than required by law and contradicts what Musk tweeted about what laid off workers will receive.

“Everyone who quit was offered 3 months severance, 50% more than required by law,” Musk wrote on Twitter. Twitter said in early November that workers based in Ghana would be paid by December 4, their last day of work. And they will continue to receive full pay and benefits during the 30-day notice period.

“It was very vague, didn’t talk about significant leave or paid time off, and asked us to sign if we agreed. I never bothered to go back to the document because it’s garbage and still violates labor laws here,” one former employee told CNN on condition of anonymity.

The Accra-based team accuses Twitter of treating them in bad faith, not being transparent and discriminating against them compared to workers fired in other jurisdictions.

“Employees are saddened, humiliated and scared by this turn of events. Non-Ghanaian workers, some with young families, moved here to do business and are now being unofficially ripped off, with no provision for repatriation costs and Twitter, Inc. there is no opportunity to contact, discuss or plead with them. case,” A notice to Ghana’s Chief Labor Inspector said.

Their lawyer, Carla Olympio, says the sudden dismissal of almost the entire team violated Ghana’s employment law because it is considered a “retrenchment” that requires three months’ notice to authorities and negotiations over severance pay.

“In stark contrast to the internal company guarantees provided to Twitter employees around the world prior to the takeover, there appears to have been little attempt to comply with Ghana’s labor laws and the protections afforded to workers in the face of massive layoffs. restructuring or reorganization,” he wrote in a statement to CNN.

Twitter’s official entry into the continent began “with great fanfare and government support,” the workers said in a petition to Ghana’s Chief Labor Officer. and now expect the same attention to their plight.

They are demanding 3 months’ total wages as severance pay, repatriation costs for non-Ghanaian workers, the granting of stock options stipulated in their contracts and other benefits such as the continuation of health care offered to workers worldwide.

CNN has reached out to Ghana’s Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations for comment.

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