July 18, 2023

Elon Musk’s Twitter Team Ignore Former African Employees Who Are Owed Severance Payments

Seven months after terminating the contracts of almost all its staff in Accra, Ghana, Twitter has yet to provide its African former employees with severance pay or benefits.

What Happened?

At the end of last year, Musk laid off employees of Twitter Africa as part of a global cost-cutting measure. 

The Twitter team in Ghana had just opened their first-ever physical office when the team woke up to find they had been locked out of their emails and work laptops.

They were also told over email that their contracts were being terminated.

In late May of this year, the former employees accepted Twitter’s offer to pay them three months’ worth of severance which is usually offered to an employee at the end of their employment.

They told CNN they reluctantly agreed to the package without benefits, even though it was less than colleagues elsewhere received.

“Twitter was non-responsive until we agreed to the three months because we were all so stressed and exhausted and tired of the uncertainty, reluctant to take on the extra burdens of a court case, so we felt we had no choice but to settle,” a former employee told them.

They were also offered the cost of repatriation of foreign staff and legal expenses incurred during negotiations with the company.

However, they have not received the money or have any further communication since May, confirmed Carla Olymipo, an attorney representing the former employees. 

What next?

International Correspondent for CNN, Larry Madowo, asked Twitter’s press team why the laid-off African employees still need to be paid. They replied with a poop emoji. 

Madowo did confirm that the emoji auto-sends when you email Twitter’s press team, but they do sometimes follow up. He, however, has yet to get a response from them.

Another Twitter employee told CNN, “They ghosted us.”

Some workers had moved to Ghana from other African nations and depended on their jobs at Twitter to support their legal status before being laid off.

Twitter and Musk are currently facing multiple lawsuits as individuals claim they failed and continue to fail to pay former staffers what they are owed.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.