'You can’t compel anyone to treat people with respect but you have to obey the law', said the attorney representing Ghanaian Twitter staff.

Twitter Inc. agreed to engage with fired staff from its only office in Africa (Ghana) after they were offered poorer-than-announced severance packages.

Affected employees in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, have secured talks with Twitter after a letter sent requesting that the company comply with local employment law, according to a lawyer representing the staff.

Twitter layoffs

20 employees in Africa fired

Around 20 people worked in the West African country’s office.

“We look to begin negotiations as soon as practicable,” the attorney, Carla Olympio, said in an email Tuesday.

Twitter spokespeople didn’t immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Elon Musk, who acquired the company for $44 billion last month, fired nearly all of the African team as part of sweeping cuts — eliminating a division that had been seen as part of Twitter’s future.

Less severance pay than in US

President Nana Akufo-Addo had tweeted in April last year that the office marked “the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Twitter and Ghana.”

Jack Dorsey, then chief executive officer of Twitter, also said he sought to move to the country “at some point.”

Since Musk took over, thousands of staff around the world have been fired or walked out.

In Accra, an initial termination letter said employees would receive a month’s notice, which later improved to a month’s notice plus two months’ severance.

That was still below the offer tweeted by Musk on 4 November.

Twitter must obey Ghanaian law

“This is not an ordinary situation and so Twitter must obey redundancy provisions under Ghanaian law,” Olympio said.

Companies have to notify authorities at least three months before implementing a redundancy, show they are working to mitigate any negative impact and plan for negotiation of redundancy pay.

“You can’t compel anyone to treat people with respect but you have to obey the law,” said Olympio, who heads Agency Seven Seven, an Accra-based business advisory company.

Ghana’s employment minister, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has met with the affected employees. A ministry official declined to immediately comment when reached by phone.