Fears of more Irish tech jobs are growing with reports that Facebook’s parent company Meta plans to launch a major round of job cuts in the coming days.
eta employs 6,000 people in Ireland, half of whom are salaried employees.
However, speaking at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt on Monday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin urged: “Don’t panic.”
After thousands of Twitter workers were notified last Friday that their jobs were gone and locked out of their systems, the US-based multinational today informed its Irish employees that it is complying with local laws on layoffs would, reported RTÉ.
Twitter told Irish workers whose jobs are at risk of redundancies that it intends to comply with its legal requirements to notify the Secretary for Enterprise, Trade and Employment of matters related to its downsizing plans, the channel said.
The company has also told employees they are not required to work during the 30-day consultation period required by law, but has asked them not to come to the office.
Staff have been told that no decisions on redundancies will be made until the end of the statutory consultation period and that they will continue to be paid during this time.
In the meantime, the IDA, the body responsible for attracting multinational jobs to Ireland, is likely to be invited to answer questions from TDs and Senators about the situation, which is becoming known as the “tech wreck”.
The latest worrying job news follows Twitter’s decision last Friday to cut half of its global workforce. Meanwhile, payments firm Stripe – which ranks as Ireland’s top tech export to Silicon Valley – is laying off 14 per cent, or 1,000 employees, across its business.
However, there are fears that Meta’s move could be the largest in the recent spate of tech job cuts.
Irish meta workers are said to have braced themselves for an announcement in recent days.
The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Meta plans to begin large-scale layoffs as early as Wednesday.
The layoffs are likely to affect many thousands of the company’s 87,000 employees worldwide.
Sources said officials at the company have already told employees to cancel non-essential travel starting this week.
A spokesman for Meta in Ireland declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report last night, but referred to comments made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month.
He said at the time: “In 2023 we will focus our investments on a few high-priority growth areas. So that means some teams will grow significantly, but most other teams will stagnate or shrink over the next year.
“Overall, we expect that by 2023 we will either be about the same size or even slightly smaller than today.”
The company’s Irish operations include its international headquarters, its Clonee data center both in Dublin and its ‘Reality Lab’ in Cork.
It has already relocated hundreds of employees to its new larger headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, ranks as one of the top four major tech multinationals in Ireland alongside Google, Apple and Intel.
A wave of layoffs is currently underway at tech multinationals. Last week’s announcements from Twitter and Stripe will affect hundreds of employees here.
PayPal, with 2,000 employees, is laying off hundreds of employees, while Docusign, with 1,000 employees, is also signaling a shrinking workforce.
Coinbase has also laid off employees, while Apple is reportedly set to freeze new hires.
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Mr Zuckerberg had previously warned the company could downsize, telling employees over the summer: “Realistically, there are a lot of people in the company who shouldn’t be doing that here.
“If I had to bet, I’d say this could be one of the worst downturns we’ve seen in recent history.”
After losing significant market share to TikTok, the company is currently trying to develop products and services for the Metaverse, a virtual reality platform that Zuckerberg claims will have over a billion regular visitors within a few years.
The job news comes exactly one year since Facebook changed its name to Meta. During this time, the company’s market value has fallen by 624 billion euros, or three quarters.
At the Cop27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said job losses in the tech sector should not cause panic.
The Taoiseach said the government will be speaking to all companies and to IDA Ireland, the stage agency tasked with recruiting foreign companies.
“I have been concerned about the global economic situation for some time because of the war in Ukraine and its impact across Europe and the world,” he said.
“We export everything we produce so what happens around the world has an impact on Ireland. So our challenge is to make sure we work with the IDA and the companies.”
Mr Martin spoke as he arrived for the Cop27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
He said Ireland had been in this situation before and would respond positively.
“There are clearly problems in the digital space,” he said.
“We’re always concerned about potential job losses, but we always tend to look with the view that there are realities out there that we cannot change globally. So how do we deal with this domestically and how do we deal with it? Regroup to see what new opportunities are out there.
“We’ve done this before, so let’s not panic. We should understand the realities driving this and see what we can do to help employees who could be laid off first.
“We have other sectors that are growing. Foreign direct investment was at record levels last year and this year looks set to be another record year for foreign direct investment in Ireland.”
The IDA is now expected to appear before TDs and Senators to answer questions about job losses and volatility in the tech sector.
The so-called “tech wreck” comes as Mary Buckley takes over as interim chair of the Industrial Development Board and longtime leader Martin Shanahan is lost to the corporate sector.
Louise O’Reilly, spokeswoman for Sinn Féin at Enterprise, has written to the Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on the same issue, asking for an urgent hearing.
Your party colleague Maurice Quinlivan is the chair of the Enterprise committee and is therefore likely to grant the motion.
Ms O’Reilly said there has been significant volatility in the technology sector in recent days, with numerous reports of mass layoffs at some of the world’s largest technology companies.
“As one of the most important technology sectors in Europe, these reports are a worrying development for tech workers in Ireland,” she said.
“Twitter, Stripe and Meta/Facebook are just a few of the companies that have announced mass layoffs and downsizing.”
She said she requested that IDA Ireland be summoned before the Enterprise Committee.
“The treatment of workers on Twitter was downright despicable. Workers at the Dublin company have been emailed that there will be job losses, but are no clearer on who or when they will take place.
“It is also becoming increasingly likely that developments relating to mass redundancies at the company may not comply with Irish labor law which requires the company to contact the Secretary of Labor 30 days before a redundancy is made.”
Referring to Elon Musk, she said understanding the new Twitter CEO’s past dealings with workers meant the nature of those moves came as no surprise.
“In the case of Stripe, of which the Irish State is the main investor through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, there are extensive discussions to be had with the Secretary for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Leo Varadkar) about the company’s situation.
She added: “The volatility in the tech sector over the past few days and weeks reinforces the need for all workers to join and be active in their union.
“Workers need a strong voice in the workplace and that can only be achieved through union work.”
Meanwhile, it remains uncertain when the Tánaiste, who has been leading a trade mission in Singapore, will be updated on the technical situation by the IDA, although it is expected to be this week.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/fears-for-more-irish-tech-jobs-at-facebook-parent-meta-as-taoiseach-says-dont-panic-and-twitter-says-it-will-obey-irish-redundancy-laws-42123486.html Fear of more Irish tech jobs at Facebook mother Meta as Taoiseach says ‘don’t panic’ and Twitter says it will obey Ireland’s layoff laws