MADRID – After nearly four months of uncertainty since US tycoon Elon Musk took over Twitter, the workforce in Spain has been cut by 80%to just five people.
“Today we have all been fired,” one of those affected told El Confidencial newspaper. This newspaper has been able to confirm this through various people involved. Twitter’s Madrid office has already been closed, despite five staff members staying on. For the other 24 employees, a redundancy scheme (ERE) will come into effect from 8 February. They receive compensation based on 33 days worked per year.
This adjustment process in Spain has been as chaotic as anything the billionaire’s management has initiated since taking ownership of Twitter on November 4. Initially, Twitter staff in Spain were fired by email, but that dismissal was soon overturned by Spanish judges.
“Today they finally fired us”
“Today they finally fired us,” says one of those affected, who prefers to remain anonymous, in statements to El Confidencial. “In the ERE they gave no valid reason, only because of productivity. The severance package had to be personally signed by Elon Musk based on Spanish regulations.
The same employee admits that the firing process was “very traumatic”. “I’m glad they’re annoyed at Twitter now because we got what we wanted from them,” he says.
The case of the Twitter subsidiary in Spain is a far cry from what happened in the United States or the United Kingdom, where dismissal proceedings have ended in court. It’s not the only legal error the social network has to fix. The Madrid class dismissal was finalised almost at the same time Britain’s Crown State was suing Musk’s company for default on its London headquarters. Since last December, Musk has stopped paying several suppliers, including this property manager of the British royal family.
In Spain, the prestigious law firm Sagardoy has taken over representation from Twitter. Both here and in other countries, the company has tried to implement the layoffs as quickly as possible, since from February 1 a large part of the workforce had to collect stock options (payment in shares), something Musk wanted to avoid at all costs at the time.
Severance costs for Musk in Spain €1.6 million
Other sources consulted indicate that negotiations with Twitter’s lawyers went flawlessly, but even they were bound by Musk’s policies. In total, the layoffs cost Musk’s company about 1.6 million euros. We are very happy,” he says.
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Musk’s arrival at Twitter initially led to the dismissal of half of the social medium’s workforce worldwide. Later on, more job losses followed. One of the most controversial moments occurred when Musk opened a voluntary dismissal process weeks later. The entire staff received an email with an ultimatum of 36 hours. At that time, everyone could decide whether to accept an “extremely hard” way of working or to look for a new job.