Facebook parent company Meta, whose European headquarters are located in Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock, have announced a major series of job cuts amounting to roughly 13% of its total workforce, the first such major redundancy in the company’s history.
The layoffs are expected to impact 350 Irish-based Meta employees out of the 3000 people currently directly employed by the tech giant. A further 6000 people are employed indirectly by Meta’s presence in Ireland, though their positions are not deemed to be at risk.
The announcement, made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week, comes on the heels of other major redundancies at international tech firms such as Stripe, Microsoft, and Elon Musk-owned Twitter, in what is seen as a post-pandemic bust for the industry.
Citing a belief that pandemic-related growth could continue in the years following on from the pandemic, Mr. Zuckerberg accepted responsibility for the job losses, stating that “Unfortunately, this did not turn out the way I expected”.
After a controversial takeover deal, Elon Musk’s Twitter has also announced a series of extensive redundancies, which are expected to impact almost half of the company’s entire staff. The platform has been accused of deliberately ignoring Irish labour laws, after employees who were to be made redundant were locked out of email accounts, though they had not yet been terminated under the collective redundancy process. He has been similarly accused of ignoring laws prohibiting mass lay-offs in the states of New York and California, where Twitter also holds offices.
Minister of State, Damien English TD, confirmed that Twitter had not been in touch with the Department of Enterprise over the impending job losses at Irish offices, as is mandatory in the case of all such major layoffs.
In a tweet, Mr. Musk stated that he had had “no choice in the matter” as Twitter was losing “$4mn a day”.
Irish-owned payments firm Stripe has also announced a 14% decrease in their workforce, following similar redundancies at Microsoft and prospective downsizing at Intel and Zendesk. However, the government has moved to reassure workers that this is not a sign of larger weaknesses in the industry.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, in comments reported by theJournal.ie, stated that the layoffs “should not be seen as a major crisis in the tech sector” but as “downsizing after years of phenomenal growth”.
In similar comments, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin affirmed that “there will be full and proper consultation with the employees of Meta and the same applies to Stripe”. However, he also noted that “Twitter is a much different context”.