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Twitter employees protest Elon Musk’s plan to fire 75% workforce

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Employees at Twitter are circulating an open letter protesting Elon Musk’s plan to fire as much as 75% of the company’s workforce, as the deadline for him to complete his $44 billion acquisition of the company looms.

Musk must complete the acquisition by Friday or face the resumption of a lawsuit in a Delaware court.

Elon Musk told prospective funders of his Twitter acquisition that he planned to replace or eradicate the jobs of nearly 75% of Twitter’s staff, reducing headcount from 7,500 to just 2,000, the Washington Post reported last week. Musk has previously claimed that the social media company is bloated, and has also said its workforce has a “strong left-wing bias.”

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TIME reviewed a draft of the open letter circulating among Twitter employees on Monday. “Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of Twitter workers will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation,” said the draft of the letter, which has not yet been published. “A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation.”

The letter demands that Musk commits to preserving Twitter’s current headcount if his takeover of the company goes through. It also demands he does not discriminate against employees based on their political beliefs and that he commits to “fair” severance policies and more communication about working conditions. “We demand to be treated with dignity, and to not be treated as mere pawns in a game played by billionaires,” the list of demands says.

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It was unclear how many Twitter employees had signed the letter at the time of publication. “Signatures will not be made public unless we have critical mass,” said a note sent to prospective signatories.

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TIME

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