Uber India has fired as many as 600 of its employees in India, which is around a fourth of its total headcount in India. This is also the company's third major wave of layoffs in two weeks as the coronavirus-induced lockdown slashed demand. The employees who have been removed include those from marketing, customer and driver support, legal, finance, policy, and business development.
Those sacked will get 10-12 week salary plus insurance benefit and outplacement support for six months. The company has allowed them to take laptops and they can also join the company talent directory. "Today is an incredibly sad day for colleagues leaving the Uber family and all of us at the company. We made the decision now so that we can look to the future with confidence. I want to apologise to departing colleagues and extend my heartfelt thanks to them for their contributions to Uber, the riders, and the driver-partners we serve in India," said Pradeep Parameswaran.
Notably, Uber cut 3,000 jobs from its global workforce on May 19. In total, the San Francisco company has cut more than a quarter of its workforce since the year began. Recently, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had said the company would refocus on its core business, moving people and delivering food and groceries. The company has also said it will close 45 offices globally, and almost all departments will be affected by layoffs.
The company is closing its Incubator and AI Labs and will pursue strategic alternatives for its job recruiting app, Uber Works, Khosrowshahi said. "This is a decision I struggled with," Khosrowshahi said. "Our balance sheet is strong, Eats is doing great, Rides looks a little better, maybe we can wait for this damn virus out...I wanted there to be a different answer...but there simply was no good news to hear."
The rides business, Uber's main profit generator, fell 80 per cent, he said. "Ultimately, I realised that hoping the world would return to normal within any predictable timeframe, so we could pick up where we left off on our path to profitability, was not a viable option," he said.
Uber's main rival Ola also laid off 1,400 employees last week as its revenue took a hit amid lockdown. CEO Bhavish Agarwal said the company's revenue has dipped 95 per cent in the last 2 months. "Our revenue has come down 95 per cent over the past 2 months. Most importantly, this crisis has affected the livelihoods of millions of our drivers and their families across India and our international geographies," he said.