No mercy for Twitter staff in Africa

  • Twitter has fired around half of its entire workforce, including almost all of its staff in Africa.
  • Unlike its US staff, African employees were not given “next steps” nor severance packages after being terminated.
  • Twitter’s only office in Africa was opened just four days before its staff began receiving termination emails.

Almost all of Twitter staff in Africa have been fired as the company underwent sweeping job cuts in the last week.

According to reports from CNN, employees at Twitter’s African head offices in Accra, Ghana, were unceremoniously fired through emails.

The staff were informed of their termination and then received no more communication from the social media giant, valued at $41 billion.

“The company is reorganizing its operations as a result of a need to reduce costs. It is with regret that we’re writing to inform you that your employment is terminating as a result of this exercise,” reads an email sent to a fired Twitter employee, seen by CNN international correspondent Larry Madowo.

None of the African employees fired was given any severance deals either. A move that is currently being reviewed by legal authorities in Ghana.

Half of Twitter’s entire workforce was set to face termination as of Friday 4th November, around 3 700 people. Twitter reportedly sent out emails to all of its staff individually informing them whether or not they would be on the chopping block.

Internal communications confirm this method was used to save time. Employees that would be kept on received emails via their company email accounts but those that were laid off received notifications to their personal emails, containing condolences and “next steps”, including information about severance packages.

However, these three-month severance packages have only been given to fired employees in the US. No “next steps” landed in the inboxes of Twitter’s African staff neither, termination emails were simply followed with radio silence. Reportedly, the emails did not even mention them by name.

Twitter chose Ghana to host its physical presence in Africa in 2021. Then still under co-founder Jack Dorsey, the move was part of the company’s global expansion plans.

According to Twitter, Ghana was chosen due to the country being a “firm supporter of free speech, online freedom and open internet.” The choice was also strategic, as Ghana would allow Twitter to establish a presence in West Africa, which includes Nigeria.

In terms of staff to fill its African offices, Twitter indicated “We are looking for specialists to join several teams including product, design, engineering, marketing and communications.”

Unfortunately for the African branch of the company, COVID-19 restrictions forced most of the employees to work remotely, only up until recently. In fact, it seems that termination emails came only four days after Twitter opened its first physical location on the continent.

“On Tuesday, after working remotely for about a year, Twitter’s African staff in Ghana finally opened a physical location. On Friday morning they were locked out of their Twitter accounts and their work notebooks. They then received email notifications on their personal accounts that they were being terminated,” says Madowo.

Luckily, it seems that the African staff will continue to receive payments and benefits until 4th December 2022 whereafter they will be let go by the company. At this time they are not permitted to communicate with other staff, suppliers, or customers.

They must also remain available at Twitter’s disposal. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Twitter has been calling some employees back to work as they were fired “by mistake.”

Other fired employees were being returned to their posts because their expertise was crucial to building the upcoming features being laid out by new owner Elon Musk.


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