Uber Faces The Pandemic Effect


Ride-hailing app Uber, like many big companies, has made it to the list of victims of the COVID-19 impact leading to companies firing their employees. 3700 Uber employees learned it while being confined to their homes. They were informed through a Zoom call which lasted for a total of three minutes. And it was with immediate effect which meant that it was their last working day with the company. All the 3700 employees that are being laid off are from the customer service and recruitment.

Ruffin Chaveleau, who heads Uber’s Phoenix Center of Excellence was tasked with the responsibility of breaking the news to their employees. From the video clip which was recorded by one of the employees who faced the axe, Chaveleau sounded disheartened to be breaking the news which she described as ‘no one wants to be on a call like this’. She said: “Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber. You will remain on the payroll until the date noted in your severance package.”

As news about the layoffs leaked, Uber feared the spread of misinformation and decided to expedite the process of announcing the decision. Uber’s business has been severely affected by the pandemic leading to 14% (3700 out of 26,900 employees) cuts from its global workforce. Employees at Uber say that more layoffs are expected in the coming months.

The company posted last Thursday a net loss of $2.9 billion. It also said that hiring has been put on hold while they are also cutting down on the existing workforce. A filing last Wednesday also revealed that the company will incur about $20 million in severance cost and charges related to it. The situation is so dire that even the CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will be forgoing his salary of $1 million-plus a possible bonus of $2 million for the rest of the year.

A spokesperson for Uber said, “It’s never easy or uncomplicated to let employees go, and that’s only been more true during this unprecedented period where we are all working from home across dozens of cities and countries. We’ve focused on providing the clearest, most empathetic experience possible and have put together a strong severance package and other benefits.”

A disgruntled former employee of the company said that the company gave them no notice. She said, “if I missed that Zoom call, I would have missed the news. We knew they didn’t have the drivers’ backs, but they don’t have anyone’s backs.” Adding that “The way they’ve gone about it is very negative. Uber has empathy training and they teach us to be sympathetic to other people’s needs, but they’re not practising what they preach.”

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