Twitter appear to be actively ignoring Irish Labour laws

09 November 2022

• Manner of redundancy notice appears to amount to constructive dismissal

Labour spokesperson on workers’ rights, Senator Marie Sherlock has said Twitter appears to be riding roughshod over Irish labour laws and said the manner of redundancy notices dished out to workers appear to amount to constructive dismissal.

Senator Sherlock said: “Last week, we understand that those in Twitter whose jobs are at risk were locked out of their emails and systems and therefore prevented from doing their work even though their job had yet to be terminated under the collective redundancy process. Yesterday, we saw Meta communicate to its global workforce of their decision “to remove access to most Meta systems for people leaving today given the amount of access to sensitive information”, however it was clarified today that Meta employees in Ireland on notice that their roles are at risk, are not being cut off from access to internal systems or emails.

“Under the 1977 Protection of Employees act, the whole point of the 30 day consultation period is that the status quo is retained and under Irish employment law, employers have no contractual right to lock workers out. The action by Twitter shows a disgraceful and blatant disregard for the workers themselves and for Irish labour law.

Furthermore, the confusion among staff and lack of clear communication in Meta has been simply unacceptable. People’s livelihoods are at stake here and while formal communications to staff refer to their jobs as being at risk of redundancy, we’re aware that it has been the case that some in the workplace have been made aware that their jobs are gone, not at risk of being gone.

“There are also serious concerns about the redundancy packages that both companies have proposed to their global workforce in recent days. We know that staff working in sales and advertising in both companies have expressed a major worry that severance pay will not be based on their expected earnings inclusive of commission and other sales-based rewards. Added to that, workers with less than two years’ service have no entitlement to statutory redundancy in this country. There has been significant recruitment by both companies in the past two years. It is unconscionable that these companies which have extremely wealthy owners would leave new recruits high and dry.

“Last night, the Tánaiste said that the Government has limited influence over these companies. That’s not good enough. In order to defend the laws of this country and to ensure no bad precedents, the Government must hold these companies to their legal obligations. It’s also worth noting that the State via the State Investment Fund has invested €100m in tech companies of 2021 with €42m alone going into Stripe. The State can and must do all it can to prevent the indecent dumping of jobs across the tech industry.”

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