AT LEAST 3,500 frontline workers were “immediately” laid off by an Uber executive in a three-minute Zoom call amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports say.
Shocking leaked video shows Ruffin Chaveleau, who heads the company‘s Phoenix Center of Excellence, laying off workers “effective immediately” via video link.
In it, an emotional Chaveleau can be heard addressing thousands of workers in one simultaneous firing.
“Our rides business is down by more than half,” Chaveleau told the thousands of workers who joined the conference.
“There is not enough work for many frontline customer support employees,” she continued. “We are eliminating 3,500 frontline customer support roles.
“Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber. You will remain on payroll until the date noted in your severance package.
“I know that this is incredibly hard to hear,” the Uber executive added, before thanking workers for their contributions to the company. “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.”
Uber said leaders of the affected teams headed tens of meetings beforehand, however.
“With people taking fewer trips, the unfortunate reality is that there isn’t enough work for many of our front-line customer support employees,” a spokesperson told The Sun.
“Since we don’t know how long a recovery will take, we are taking steps to bring our costs in line with the size of our business today.
“This was a tough decision, but it is the right one to help protect the company’s long-term health and ensure we come out of this crisis stronger.”
This is the second such call Chaveleau had to make on behalf of the company as a result of the deadly bug.
Back in February, the executive laid off 80 staffers when Uber shuttered its LA customer support office.
On Wednesday, a company filing cited by the Mail showed 3,700 roles will be cut from its workforce globally, which works out to be around 14 percent of its 26,900 employees.
These cuts won’t affect drivers for the most part, with the majority of layoffs targeted at customer service and recruitment workers – and more are expected, one sacked staffer claimed.
“It was a 3,700-person live Zoom call,” the worker told the Mail. “It was controlled. I would prefer to have had notice.
“The day before, we were told we would know in two weeks what departments would be let go.
“They gave us no notice. 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.”
The laid off staffer acknowledged that the company sent them a severance package but said now, they’re “treating us like they treat the drivers.”
The employee claimed Uber taught workers how to do unemployment claims for their fired peers before sacking them the next day.
The news comes after the virus severely hit the taxi and ride-sharing industry, as people stayed home and teleworked to mitigate the spread.
It emerged earlier this week that the ride-hailing company lost a whopping $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020 as its bookings were hammered by the coronavirus.
The financial results emerged after it announced it was to cut 3,700 jobs as the outbreak had led to a huge slump in ride bookings and a hiring freeze.
Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said business in the US had started to recover after some states reopened following lengthy lockdowns.
He said: “While our rides business has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, we have taken quick action to preserve the strength of our balance sheet, focus additional resources on Uber Eats, and prepare us for any recovery scenario.
“Along with the surge in food delivery, we are encouraged by the early signs we are seeing in markets that are beginning to open back up.”
Uber told the Mail it’s never “easy or uncomplicated” letting employees go, especially during a pandemic and they aimed to provide “the clearest, most empathetic approach, possible,” along with a severance package.
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