Friday, November 04, 2022

Thomson Reuters

Updated at 16:35

Twitter has begun laying off its Irish staff as part of a global cost-cutting plan, with more than 50 per cent of Irish-based staff expected to be affected by the cuts.

As the Irish Times reports, Twitter employs around 500 people at its European headquarters at their Cumberland Place office in Dublin.

The company has yet to comment officially, but sources described the situation inside the Irish arm of the company as “carnage”, with lay-offs “random and indiscriminate”.

Staff here found their workplace access had been cut off on Friday morning as new owner Elon Musk began drastic cuts to the company’s global workforce.

Earlier, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath expressed his disappointment at the handling of job losses at Twitter in Dublin with the impacted staff hearing of their dismissal by email.

Speaking in Cork, Minister McGrath said it was a “dark day” for staff who had suffered the loss of their livelihood.

“I do think when difficult decisions have to be made there is a way of doing it. It is important for people at all times to be treated with dignity and respect. It is disappointing to hear the manner in which this has been done today.

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

Minister McGrath said the Government intends to continue to work with IDA Ireland in relation to the developing situation.

“I don’t think they (Twitter) have made any formal statement yet on the impact on their Irish operations, and we await developments. But we will do all we possibly can to support those who have suffered a loss of employment today.

And the Government and all of our agencies will be working now to ensure that there are alternative opportunities provided to people who are bringing highly valued skills and experiences to the table.”

He said that it was important that clarity be brought to the situation.

“I am sure there will be a formal statement from the company setting out the full circumstances and setting out the facts of the situation. It is a company we have worked closely with for a number of years now in Ireland.”

Office closures

The comment come as Twitter Inc temporarily closed its offices and cut workers access to internal systems on Friday after telling employees they would be informed by email later in the day about whether they were being laid off.

The move follows a week of uncertainty about the company’s future under new owner Elon Musk.

The social media company said in an email to staff it would tell them by 9 a.m. Pacific time on Friday (12 p.m. EDT/4:00pm Irish time) about staff cuts.

A member of security staff at Twitter’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Dublin told reporters that nobody was coming into the office on Friday and employees had been told to stay home.

Another member of security staff locked the revolving doors at the front of the building where around 500 members of staff worked before the layoffs began.

In an email seen by Reuters on Thursday, the company said: “In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday.”

Musk, the world’s richest person, is looking to cut around 3,700 Twitter staff, or about half the workforce, as he seeks to slash costs and impose a demanding new work ethic, according to internal plans reviewed by Reuters this week.

The company’s content moderation team is expected to be impacted, according to tweets by Twitter staff.

Musk has promised to restore free speech while preventing Twitter from descending into a “hellscape”. However, his reassurances have failed to prevent major advertisers from threatening to withdraw from the platform.

Volkswagen has recommended its brands to pause paid advertising on Twitter until further notice in the wake of Musk’s takeover, it said on Friday. Its comments echoed similar remarks from other firms, including General Motors GM.N and General Mills GIS.N.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter’s ‘Curation’ team, which is responsible for “highlighting and contextualising the best events and stories that unfold on Twitter”, has been axed, employees said on the platform.

The company’s communications team in India has also been laid off, according to a Twitter executive in Asia.

Some staff reported losing access to internal systems and being unable to message goodbyes to colleagues.

Internal systems

“Looks like I’m unemployed y’all. Just got remotely logged out of my work laptop and removed from Slack,” tweeted a user with the account @SBkcrn, whose profile is described as former senior community manager at Twitter.

Twitter employees vented their frustrations about the layoffs on the social network, using the hashtag #OneTeam.

User Rachel Bonn tweeted: “Last Thursday in the SF (San Francisco) office, really the last day Twitter was Twitter. 8 months pregnant and have a 9 month old. Just got cut off from laptop access.”

Responding to the #OneTeam thread, Twitter’s Head of Safety & Integrity Yoel Roth, said: “Tweeps: My DMs (direct message routes) are always open to you. Tell me how I can help.”

Roth was the most senior executive to message publicly with a tweet of support for staff who are losing their jobs. He also appeared to still have his job. Last week, Musk endorsed Roth, citing his “high integrity” after he was called out over tweets critical of former U.S. President Donald Trump years earlier.

The company’s office in Piccadilly Circus, London, appeared deserted on Friday, with no employees in sight.

Inside, any evidence the social media giant had once occupied the building had been erased. Security staff said there were ongoing refurbishments, refusing to comment further.

The company said employees who were not affected by the layoffs would be notified via their work email addresses. Staff who had been laid off would be notified with next steps to their personal email addresses, the memo said.

Additional reporting by Olivia Kelleher 

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