Twitter layoffs: People should be ‘treated with dignity and respect’

4 Nov 2022

Image: © Diana Vyshniakova/Stock.adobe.com

As the fallout continues at the social media company, Minister Michael McGrath said the way the layoffs are being handled is ‘disappointing’.

Throughout today (4 November), scores of now former Twitter employees have taken to social media to express their disappointment at the company’s current situation.

Following an internal memo to staff warning them of job cuts, Twitter closed its offices temporarily and said employees could expect an email regarding their role at the company.

The memo was signed from ‘Twitter’, with no company management listed as the sender. It stated that those who are losing their jobs would receive a message to their personal email address, while staff staying on would get an email to their work account.

As the day progressed, many workers at the company took to different social media platforms to say they had been part of the cohort that had been made redundant.

One former employee said in a LinkedIn post: “My time at Twitter has come to an abrupt end, along with far too many of my brilliant co-workers.”

The memo said that staff would find out their employment status by roughly 4pm Irish time today. It is reported that job cuts could affect around 50pc of Twitter’s staff globally.

The social media company has around 500 staff employed at its Dublin office. While the exact numbers impacted here are still unclear, several Irish Twitter workers have said that they lost their jobs.

“Woke up to the sad news that I’m no longer a Tweep,” one Irish Twitter employee said on the platform.

Layoffs appear to be happening across a number of teams and include members of the company’s communications, public policy and sustainability teams.

‘There is a way of doing it’

As news of the layoffs continues to spread, many have criticised the manner in which the decision has been handled.

Speaking earlier today at the opening of NetApp’s new office in Cork, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath, TD, said it’s “disappointing to hear the manner in which this has been done”.

‘We will do all that we possibly can to support those who have suffered a loss of employment today’
– MICHAEL MCGRATH, TD

“My thoughts, first of all, are with people who are losing their job today, because it’s a very dark day for anyone to suffer the loss of their job, their livelihood. I do think that when difficult decisions have to be made, there is a way of doing it, it’s important that people are at all times treated with dignity and respect,” he said.

“I don’t have the full details to hand, but I know some employees have gone online themselves and confirmed that they are no longer employed by the company, which is deeply disappointing.”

McGrath added that the Irish Government will continue to work with IDA Ireland to manage the relationship with the company.

“We will do all that we possibly can to support those who have suffered a loss of employment today. The Government and all of our agencies will be working now to make sure that there are alternative opportunities provided to people who are bringing highly valued skills and experiences to the table.”

Others have questioned the legality of the layoffs. Twitter is now facing a class-action lawsuit in the US from former employees. The lawsuit alleges that Twitter violated worker protection laws that require 60 days of advance notice.

In Ireland, employers who propose a collective redundancy must first hold consultations with employee representatives. They must also have a real business reason to make employees redundant and must use fair and reasonable selection criteria in choosing people to make redundant.

According to Declan Harmon of The Bar of Ireland: “Employers cannot select people for redundancy on an arbitrary basis.”

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Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com