For over a year, the staff of Twitter Africa worked remotely while preparing to move into their Accra Headquarters to begin operations physically.
It, therefore, came as great news when, on November 1, 2022, all the Africa staff of the global microblogging and social networking service got to have their first taste of a physical working environment with their colleagues.
The remote operations had ended, and that was supposed to be good news for the staff and the African region, knowing that Twitter had established an office to serve its direct interests, but something big and unexpected hit them some 24 hours after.
By Friday, November 4, 2022, the fates of the Africa HQ staff had been determined: none of them was spared the big cut.
“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.
“Your last day of employment will be December 4, 2022. You will be placed on garden leave until your termination date,” the termination notice sent via email to them read.
This was made available by Larry Madowo, a Kenyan journalist working with CNN.
SCOOP – CNN has obtained the termination notice sent to staff at Twitter’s only office in Africa – in Accra ????????
It was sent to their personal emails but didn’t mention any of them by name. Unlike in the US, it doesn’t offer next steps or severance pic.twitter.com/R868moImlh— Larry Madowo (@LarryMadowo) November 8, 2022
“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,” the email told Twitter Africa staff. And then silence— Larry Madowo (@LarryMadowo) November 8, 2022
Elon Musk takes over Twitter:
On October 28, 2022, after months of processes for a complete takeover of the microblogging platform, the world’s richest man and billionaire businessman, Elon Musk, earned control of the site after a $44 billion deal.
According to the New York Times, the closing of the billion-dollar deal, amidst a lot of drama and a lot of legal challenges, had “set Twitter on an uncertain course.”
In one of his very first decisions at the helm of the social media giant, Musk fired three top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal.
How Twitter Africa staff were fired:
Giving further details into the mysterious way the staff of the African office received their termination notices, Larry Madowo said that everything happened in four days.
This, he said, happened after the staff physically moved into their office space in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
He added that this move by Musk, and ultimately Twitter, now question its commitment to the continent because “when it opened the African office in Ghana, Africans – more than a billion of us, felt seen, and now all of that seems to have all gone up in the smoke.
“On Tuesday, after working remotely for about a year, Twitter’s Africa staff in Ghana finally opened the physical. On Friday morning, they were locked out of their email accounts, and their work laptops stopped working.
“They then received email notifications on their personal email accounts that they were getting terminated,” he explained.
The 20-member Africa team of Twitter are not alone, as many of the company’s staff in parts of the world have also been hit with this unexpected blow.
No severance for Africa staff:
While there has been an understanding communicated to especially staff of Twitter in the United States about receiving certain severances after the termination of their employment, CNN reported that that is not the case too in Africa.
Explaining how this has come to be the case, Larry added that following their termination notifications, the Africa staff are to stay put, doing almost noting until their last day at the company.
“Typically, the remaining employees of Twitter will receive full payment and benefits until December 4 but until that time, they are not allowed to communicate with other staff, suppliers, customers or clients and they are to remain available at Twitter’s disposal in case they need to have a proper handover,” he added.
But again, he said that for the Africa staff, one other thing that has given them a reason to be further worried is that the email they received did not even mention any severances for them.
Larry explained it as, “At least for the African staff, that email did not even mention them by name; it just said ‘see attached.’ And even though Elon Musk said everybody who got fired would be getting at least three months severance above the law – that’s in the US, those in [the] Africa office didn’t get a next step, or if they’re going to get any severance at all, which some lawyers in Ghana are now pointing out could be a violation of Ghanaian employment law.”
It is, however, unclear what the next move by the staff for the Twitter Africa office will be, even as there are suggestions that this termination violates Ghana’s laws.