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LONDON — Elon Musk’s controversial Twitter firing spree is sending workers into the arms of organized labor, according to the new head of Britain’s Trades Union Congress.

Paul Novak told Politico, “Elon Musk is an ideal recruiting tool for the trade union movement.” Since the Tesla billionaire took over the social media platform in October, Prospect, one of 48 affiliates of the trade union federation, “has seen its membership in Twitter increase tenfold,” he said.

The influx is “in fine reaction” to Musk, argued Novak, who “thinks he can issue a directive from San Francisco that in no way has any relation to employment law around the world.”

Musk has fired about 3,700 employees – nearly half of Twitter’s workforce – in a massive round of layoffs since buying the company.

UK Twitter employees received an email asking them to leave, saying their jobs would be “potentially” affected or “at risk” because, under British law, firms are required to work with employees on mass redundancies. consultation is required.

Meanwhile in November Musk sent an email to employees final warning Either become “extremely hardcore” by “working long hours at high intensity” or leave the company.

Musk’s behavior is, Novak said, “a great recruiting tool for us.”

“If I were a young worker in tech, I would think that being a union member might be a good investment at this point in time,” he said. “If it can happen on Twitter, it can happen anywhere.”

Unions have intensified their activities in recent years in another part of the tech world: the gig economy. Uber and food delivery service Deliveroo recently signed agreement with union, while some Apple Stores have voted for union recognition. Industrial action ballots were also seen for the first time in a UK Amazon warehouse last year.

Novak said organized labor is “starting to make inroads” in the technology, but still “needs to take that work forward.” Twitter had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.


Novak takes the helm at the TUC at a time of major industrial unrest in the UK, as workers in many sectors rail against stagnant pay amid rising inflation.

UK Twitter employees received an exit email saying their jobs would be “potentially” affected or “at risk”. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

“It doesn’t matter whether it is railway workers, postal workers, nurses, paramedics, our members are not on strike for this,” he said.

Since the financial crisis in 2008, the average income in the UK has lagged behind neighboring countries in Europe. An analysis by the TUC shows that workers are on average £20,000 poorer since 2008, as wages have failed to keep up with inflation. The union group expects the gap to rise to £24,000 by 2025, with even bigger gaps for frontline healthcare workers who are on strike.

UK retail price index measures inflation reached 14 percent last year, and the economist forecast inflation Britain – partly because of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – will remain in power longer than its G7 partners.

“Families can’t spend as much as they could in the past,” said Josie Dent, managing economist at the Center for Economics and Business Research. “Naturally this creates weaker demand.”

Against that backdrop, Novak said he wants the British government to stimulate domestic demand by putting more wages in workers’ pockets. Government It’s logic Boosting public sector salaries will further fuel inflation and push its already shaky public finances further into the red.

“What do our members do when our members get paid and get a fair wage increase? They go and spend that money at local stores, hotels, restaurants,” Novak said, and “they don’t put it in offshore bank accounts, or save it for a rainy day.”

“You also have to create demand internally in the economy,” he said. “We have common sense like a government turned on its head.”

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