Twitter Inc. employees around the world began getting notifications that they were locked out of their work accounts, a week after billionaire Elon Musk took over the company promising sweeping changes.
Workers will have to check two email addresses to find out if they still have a job, according to an internal memo sent to employees and seen by Bloomberg. An email to their work account means they’ve been retained. A letter in their personal inbox means they’ve been fired. Twitter has promised to notify workers by 9 a.m. San Francisco time on Friday, and has temporarily closed offices and suspended badge access “to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data,” the memo said.
Musk plans to eliminate half of Twitter’s workforce to slash costs at the social media platform he acquired for $44 billion last month, people with knowledge of the matter have said. The company must also find ways to cope with interest costs on a massive debt pile.
“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday,” Twitter management said in an email reviewed by Bloomberg. “We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success going forward.”
The speed of the changes is having repercussions. Twitter has already been sued for not giving proper notice of the plan to eliminate about 3,700 jobs.
Some advertisers are also wary of Musk’s plans to reexamine Twitter’s content moderation policy. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, joined Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. in temporarily pausing advertising on the platform.
Twitter employees in the UK have been joining trade unions in an effort to better protect their employment rights during the mass job cuts.
“Twitter is treating its people appallingly,” said Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, a UK-based trade union that said it has seen an influx of sign-ups from Twitter employees over the last week. Clancy called on the UK government to ensure that Twitter doesn’t become a “digital P&O,” referring to the ferry company that cut 800 jobs in March.
“We are supporting our members at Twitter and will be working with them to defend them and their livelihoods,” he added.
Britain’s United Tech and Allied Workers labor group also condemned the way employees were treated and encouraged Twitter workers to join.
The UK’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service says businesses must generally consult on redundancies and inform the government’s Redundancy Payments Service. An ACAS spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation.
(With assistance from Kurt Wagner, Olivia Solon, Monica Raymunt, Morwenna Coniam and Thomas Seal.)
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