In a major shocker, Uber has fired more than 3,500 of its employees in customer service, recruitment through a Zoom call that lasted just over three minutes.
The action was taken in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, which has led to lockdowns in different parts of the world, affecting the ride-hailing business of the company.
Here’s what went down.
“Today will be your last working day with Uber”
As reported by Daily Mail, Ruffin Chaveleau, who heads Uber’s customer service, broke the news of layoffs to employees on the call.
“We are eliminating 3,500 frontline customer support roles,” Chaveleau said, telling them “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,” she added
Business is down by more than half
Explaining the reason for the sudden mass layoff, Chaveleau said, “Our rides business is down by more than half. There is not enough work for many frontline customer support employees.”
The impact is the direct result of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to lockdowns around the world, bringing the cab-sharing business to a complete halt.
“No one wants to be on a call like this”
Chaveleau spoke in a cracking tone, “I know this is incredibly hard to hear. No one wants to be on a call like this.”
“With everyone remote and a change of this magnitude, we had to do this in a way that allowed us to tell you as quickly as possible so that you did not hear it from the rumor mill,” she noted.
Global workforce reduced by 14%
In a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Uber confirmed that it is laying off 3,700 or about 14% of its global workforce to reduce operating expenses in the wake of the economic uncertainty stemming from COVID-19.
“Our size will have to be rationalized based on the business needs,” Chaveleau said on the call.
Here is what Uber’s spokesperson said on the matter
“It’s never easy or uncomplicated to let employees go, and that is only been more true during this unprecedented period, where we are all working from home across dozens of cities and countries. We’ve put together a strong severance package and other benefits.”