Twitter Finally Pays-Off Sacked Ghana Staff

In November last year, a cohort of employees in Ghana issued a threat to sue Twitter, now X, for failing to fulfil its commitment to provide redundancy pay. Now, after months of fighting, they have finally been served their just dessert.

This development adds to the ongoing saga surrounding Twitter/X since Elon Musk assumed control in 2022. This latest chapter begs the question: what exactly is going on with this platform?

The Elon Musk Cull

Twitter/X has had an interesting journey in the past couple of years. Tech giant Musk has made a lot of changes since he assumed control of the platform, and not all of them have been popular.

From the introduction of paid blue-certified ticks to restrictions on character counts in captions to the rebranding of ‘X’ itself, the changes Musk has made have left the social media app constantly in the spotlight.

While some have embraced the changes, this loss of popularity is reflected in the app being named one of the most deleted apps of 2023. While this reflects general feelings of discontent among the masses, others have a greater reason to be at odds with the platform.

A cohort of employees in Ghana had just moved to X’s new office in Accra before they heard news that they had been sacked. Their dismissal was part of Musk’s sweeping global cull of employees last year, where over 6,000 people were fired in an attempt by Musk to cut costs of the platform after he claimed he was losing over £3.5m a day.

According to the BBC, after being told their contracts were being terminated, the employees in the Accra office were told they would be paid to work for one month. However, the employees found themselves locked out of their emails and no further salary payments were made, something that inflicted financial strain but also took a toll on their mental well-being.

In response, the employees embarked on a long struggle with X to obtain due compensation.

Struggle For Compensation

To claim the compensation they were owed, Agency Seven Seven stepped in to provide legal representation to the staff. This began a frustrating legal battle that has only recently reached a resolution.

Carla Olympio of Agency Seven Seven expressed frustration at the situation, stating: “Every time we get close, they go silent for weeks on end with no explanation. It has been one year since they were all laid off, defeating the entire purpose of a redundancy package, which is meant to cushion employees against the adverse effects of being laid off”.

Regarding X’s pattern of silence, the agency said that, while both parties agreed that all discussions and a settlement would need to be concluded by 5 October, this was just one of the many deadlines X ignored.

X’s response seemed to hinge on remaining silent and, in all likelihood, hoping that the problem would simply go away. Former employees accused the platform of “ghosting” them during negotiations, leaving them without severance pay, health insurance, stock options, and unpaid leave allowances.

In fact, according to Agency Seven Seven, X only engaged with the terminated African staff after the BBC reported the story, indicating the platform’s sudden change of heart was only driven by concerns over its reputation.

So, What Is Going On With X?

The recent incident is concerning, but what makes it more so is that it’s not an isolated event.

Last year, X faced a lawsuit from former employees in a California court, alleging the company refused to pay out at least $500 million in promised severance packages. In fact, according to a CNBC report, there were over 2,200 arbitration cases against the organisation globally as of last August.

These cases illustrate an evident pattern of X terminating employees and mistreating them in an attempt to avoid fulfilling their financial obligations.

So, what exactly is going on with the platform?

It’s undeniable that Musk has come to leadership of the platform at a difficult time. After all, the last couple of years have been shadowed by artificial intelligence (AI) bursting into our lives and taking over our social media platforms.

This seems to have shaken Musk who, despite being a tech whizz, has evidently been scrambling on how to keep X free from AI intrusion.

The platform has also hit headlines for becoming a bit of a money pit, hence the cull of employees and introduction of paid verification ticks.

Furthermore, Musk’s clashes with the EU, which initiated formal proceedings against the platform over violations of its Digital Services Act, particularly regarding transparency rules, add to the challenges.

The EU also criticised X for showing “the dissemination of illegal content in the context of Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel.”

All in all, it’s safe to say that when Musk took over the platform, he may have bitten off a little more than he could chew. And, with increasing numbers of users deleting the app last year, one can only wait and see if the platform will be able to weather the storm in the coming year.