A member of Elon Musk’s team told fired cleaning staff on Twitter that their jobs would be replaced by robots, according to a BBC report. Former employees of the San Francisco headquarters of the microblogging site, which Mr Musk bought for $44 billion in October, also said they were fired without any severance pay.
Speaking to the outlet, Julio Alvarado, who had been a cleaner for 10 years at Twitter, said that after Mr Musk acquired the company, he was escorted by a private security service during the cleaning of certain parts of the office. He also said someone on Mr Musk’s team told him his work would soon be obsolete anyway, as robots would eventually replace human cleaners.
According to BBC, the cleaners’ union was only told last week that their jobs were under threat, following which they staged a protest strike on Monday. But they were then told that they had been dismissed with immediate effect.
“They did this three weeks before Christmas,” union president Olga Miranda said. “I think we were fired because we are a union,” she added.
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Now the firings are being investigated by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu to see if Mr Musk broke the law. “Elon Musk has a long history of flouting labor laws. While I’m not surprised this happened, I feel for these workers. We’re going to take a closer look at this,” Chiu told the BBC.
Notably, after taking over Twitter in October, Mr. Musk immediately fired top Twitter executives, and a week later fired nearly half of the company’s 7,500 employees.
According The Independent, the microblogging platform has been sued by two women who lost their jobs and say the layoffs have disproportionately affected female employees. They filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, which said Twitter fired 57% of its female staff, compared to 47% of men at the company.
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