A member of Elon Musk’s team told Twitter’s fired cleaning staff that their jobs would be replaced by robots, according to a BBC report. The now-former employees at the San Francisco headquarters of the microblogging website, which Mr Musk bought for $44 billion in October, also said that 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 private security while cleaning parts of the office. He also stated that he was told by someone from Mr Musk’s team that his job would be obsolete soon anyway because robots would eventually replace human cleaners.
As per the BBC, the cleaners’ union was told only last week that their jobs were under threat, following which they organised a strike on Monday to protest. But they were then told that they had been laid off effective immediately.
“They did this three weeks before Christmas,” said union president Olga Miranda. “I think we were fired because we’re a union,” she added.
Now, the firings are being investigated by San Francisco city attorney, David Chiu, to see if Mr Musk broke the law. “Elon Musk has had a long history of flouting labour laws. While I’m not surprised this happened, I feel for these workers. We will be looking into this further,” Mr Chiu told the BBC.
Notably, after taking over Twitter in October, Mr Musk immediately fired Twitter’s top executives, and a week later, he fired almost half the company’s 7,500 staff.
As per The Independent, the microblogging platform has been sued by two women who lost their jobs and claim that the layoffs disproportionately affected female employees. They filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, which stated that Twitter laid off 57 percent of its female staff, compared to 47 percent of men at the company.