Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said neither Twitter nor Stripe have informed him of any decisions to begin laying off Irish staff, which he added was a legal requirement for collective redundancies in Ireland.
Tech giant Twitter on Friday began a process of culling its 7,500 workforce globally, with more than half of its 500 workers in Dublin expected to be axed.
Twitter staff woke on Friday morning to find their offices had been closed and access to its IT systems had been shut off in “order to protect the security of our confidential information and user data”.
The company, which was acquired last week by Elon Musk for $44 billion, sent communications to the personal emails of staff at threat of being made redundant.
The notice stated that “does not mean that we have made any final decisions in relation to this process or your role”, adding they would have the opportunity to “express their views” via “employee representatives” who would be elected by staff shortly.
Irish employment law requires a company that wishes to engage in collective redundancy to inform the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment 30 days before any dismissals take place. A 30-day consultation period with affected employees is also required.
Irish-founded fintech Stripe said on Friday it would enter into a 30-day consultation period with Irish staff as part of a process to implement job cuts.
The company is to cut 14 per cent of its staff worldwide as the global downturn continues to hit the tech sector.
The group employs 500-600 staff in Dublin, but has not provided a breakdown on the redundancies for specific offices or regions, so it’s not yet clear how many of the dual Irish-US headquartered company’s Irish workforce will be affected.
In a statement to The Irish Times on Saturday, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said Mr Varadkar, who is the relevant Minister at the department, has not been informed by Twitter or Stripe of plans to cull staff in Dublin.
“The Tánaiste has not received a collective redundancy notification in relation to potential redundancies at Twitter or Stripe,” said a spokeswoman.
“The Tánaiste expects all employers to comply with their legal obligations under the Protection of Employment Act 1977, as amended.
“This requires a 30-day consultation with employees and their representatives where collective redundancies are proposed. It also requires the company to inform the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment not less than 30 days before the first dismissals.
“The Department is keeping a watching brief on these matters as they develop.”
A spokesman for Stripe said the company was in a “process of consultation and will be writing to the Minister in line with its legal requirements”.
The communication to Twitter staff in Dublin who are at risk of redundancy, seen by The Irish Times, said they would receive statutory redundancy, plus an “ex gratia payment of an additional month’s salary”, plus two weeks’ salary per completed year of service.
The company told staff they would have to serve their notice period on gardening leave.
Dublin-based employment lawyer Richard Grogan said Twitter staff could have recourse to take the company to the Workplace Relations Commission.
“Stopping people having access to offices and systems, that equally opens the door to possible unfair dismissals claims,” he said.
“This is quite serious. The idea that you can simply let people go by way of an email is contrary to Irish employment law. It sends out the wrong message, particularly to the SME sector, that they can do this and then end up with problems.”
In terms of whether there is any precedent, Mr Grogan said: “We have seen cases where an entire company is told their jobs are at risk, but the selection process takes place after the process, not before.
“I’ve never seen a situation where a company has sent out emails to some staff saying they are redundant and to others they are not at the start of a process.”