UK Twitter staff have three days to choose reps before job cuts

Twitter workers who are at risk of losing their jobs in the UK have been given three days to appoint a representative for a formal job consultation.

The social media company began widespread workforce reductions around the world on Friday, suggesting that up to half of its more than 7,500 employees could be made redundant.

Workers in the UK have been told that the company plans to inform and consult employee representatives before possible redundancies, as required by employment law.

An email sent to staff in Twitter’s human resources department on Saturday said they had until 9 a.m. Tuesday to name any current employees.

A maximum of 10 representatives can be nominated, with an election taking place if more than 10 nominations are received, according to the email.

Representatives will be required to attend consultation meetings and help communicate between the company and affected employees.

But Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, which represents thousands of tech workers, including Twitter staff, described the process as “a complete sham”.

He said the number of Twitter employees had “increased quite rapidly” since new owner Elon Musk announced job cuts.

Mr Clancy described the situation as the “digital P&O” – in reference to the shipping company, which was widely condemned after laying off nearly 800 crew without notice in March and replacing them with cheaper temps.

Elon Musk buys Twitter

Twitter offices in London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Musk is believed to be keen to cut the company’s costs dramatically after completing his $44bn (£39bn) takeover of the platform last week, since he tweeted ‘we have to pay the bills one way or another”.

He said on Friday evening: “When it comes to reducing the strength of Twitter, unfortunately, there is no other choice when the company is losing over $4 million a day.

“Everyone who walked out was offered 3 months of severance pay.”

Its chief security officer later said the job cuts affected about 15% of the trust and safety department, compared to about 50% of the companywide job cuts.

Prospect wrote to Business Secretary Grant Shapps urging him to intervene in a letter which read: ‘It is totally unacceptable for anyone to be treated in this way.

“I hope you will agree with me that the government needs to make it clear to the new owners of Twitter that a digital P&O would not be acceptable and that no one is above the law in the UK, including big business. tech barons.”

Cambridge University law professor Simon Deakin said if 100 or more employees are made redundant within 90 days, the business secretary must be notified 45 days before the first redundancy.

When there are more than 20 but less than 100 potential losses, the time limit is 30 days.

Staff were told that everyone had received an email on Friday at 9:00 a.m. PST (4:00 p.m. GMT), with those affected by the cuts expected to receive the message on their personal email address rather than the one associated with their work.

Some have since taken to Twitter to confirm they are leaving the company, with some revealing they have been disconnected from their work laptops and internal messaging systems.

Twitter employee Simon Balmain told Sky News: “Late last night we all got an email saying there was going to be a big downsizing and the email said if we would be fired, it would go to our personal email and otherwise to our work email.

“And it was about an hour after that, it was in the early morning hours in the UK, like 2am, that I noticed that my work laptop had been wiped remotely and my access to email and Slack had both been revoked.

“And then I reached out to a few colleagues, and it seemed like a lot of people were seeing the same thing.”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “We are watching with interest what is happening on Twitter.

“While we cannot comment on individual cases, we expect companies to treat their employees fairly and our hearts go out to those who have lost their jobs.

“There are clear rules for companies to follow when making a large number of layoffs, which includes consulting staff and notifying the redundancy payment department.”

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