Twitter Ghana Staff Finally Paid, More Than A Year After Layoffs

Social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has reached a settlement to pay staff in its only African office in Ghana more than a year after they were laid off.

Seven Seven, the agency representing the 11 workers, did not say how much they were paid but said the laid-off staff had been “resilient”.

“Agency Seven Seven has successfully led negotiations on behalf of former staff members of Twitter Ghana Ltd. in their quest to get a fair settlement and repatriation expenses for foreign staff,” the agency said in a Saturday statement.

X set up its office in Ghana in 2021 in a move Ghanian president Nana Akufo-Addo called at the time “the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Twitter and Ghana”.

Image credit: X

Africa base

Former Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey had said in 2019 he wanted to live in Africa for up to six months.

In October 2022 entrepreneur Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion (£35bn) and immediately engaged in widespread layoffs and other cost-cutting measures.

Those included laying off nearly all the company’s Ghana-based staff, some of whom had relocated from neighboring countries such as Nigeria and remained trapped with their families in Accra.

The workers had just moved into X’s new offices in Accra at the time, after working remotely for several months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Severance

Musk said last April the company then employed 1,500 staff, down from just under 8,000 when he took over.

The former Ghana staff said they were told they would be paid to work for one more month, but were then immediately locked out of the company’s systems and received no further payments.

X has not commented but has said former staff were paid in full.

Musk said in a November 2022 post on X that “everyone exited” was offered three months of severance pay. The Ghana staff said they never received such an offer.

‘Long process’

Seven Seven told the BBC X only began negotiations after the BBC covered the story in November 2023, a year after the sackings.

“My clients have had to be very resilient because this was a long process,” Carla Olympio, a managing partner at Seven Seven, told Bloomberg. “They are relieved to put this behind them and look to the future.”

One of the former staff, Norvisi Sokpe Ndon, said in a LinkedIn post that the experience was a lesson “to be brave enough to stand up for themselves, no matter who they are going up against and no matter how long it takes”.

“No one is going to fight for you if you aren’t willing to fight for yourself,” she wrote.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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