Ride-hailing app Uber has laid off 14% of its workforce - 3,700 employees to be precise, by making a call through Zoom to them. While retrenchments may be an option that many organisations resort to due to the challenges emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, Uber has stirred a storm and faces criticism for the manner in which it went about informing its employees that their services were no longer required.
Daily Mail reported that the unfortunate news was announced to employees by Ruffin Chaveleau, head of Uber's customer service. "We are eliminating 3,500 frontline customer support roles. Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber," she reportedly told employees in what is the main crux of a short three-minute video call over Zoom.
Uber has said that its rides business has fallen by almost half and that there is simply not enough work for several customer support employees.
While Chaveleau, who broke down during the call, did admit that it was difficult to be at the receiving end of such news and also thanked the concerned employees for their contributions, the reaction has been quite scathing. Several employees have expressed their angst at not being given any notice and the impersonal nature of making a single call to all 3,700 employees in which the termination was announced. The concerned employees has reportedly received severence pay but have not been told much else.
Uber has reported a net loss of $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020. It has also offloaded Jump, its bike and scooter business, to Lime, a company in which it is investing $85 million.
The outlook for upcoming months is hardly any better.