With Elon Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter for $44 billion expected to go through by the end of this week, employees at the social media company have described the billionaire’s reported plan to cut the workforce by 75% as “reckless.”
A draft of an open letter seen by Time highlights a myriad of concerns regarding the expected takeover. The letter is signed “Twitter workers,” though it’s not known how many of the company’s 7,500 employees have put their name to it. A notes sent to prospective signatories said signatures will not be made public “unless we have critical mass.”
The layoffs, which would see Twitter’s workforce shrink to around 2,000 people, will “hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation,” the letter said. “A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation.”
In a bid to make clear the magnitude of the issues facing the company if Musk takes control, the letter said that “a threat to workers at Twitter is a threat to Twitter’s future … We cannot do our work in an environment of constant harassment and threats. Without our work, there is no Twitter.” It called on Twitter management and Elon Musk to “cease these negligent layoff threats.”
The letter also set out a number of demands for whoever leads the company.
They include an insistence that Twitter maintains the current levels of staff, and that Musk explicitly commit to preserving staff benefits, including the ability to work remotely. This could turn out to be a flashpoint as Musk is known to dislike remote work, while Twitter said at the height of the pandemic that some employees could work from home “forever” if they wished.
In a clear reference to the ongoing drama regarding Musk’s on-off acquisition, the letter ended with a demand that Twitter workers be “treated with dignity, and to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires.”
We have no idea whether any of the demands will be heard or even acted upon, but what is clear is that the story of Musk’s expected takeover of the social media platform has some way to run, with more twists and turns likely over the coming weeks.
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