Business News/ Companies / News/  Uber India lays off a fourth of its staff

Uber India on Tuesday said it has sacked around 600 employees—a fourth of its Indian workforce—as part of worldwide layoffs in May on account of “the impact of covid-19". The move, which it said was aimed at trimming costs and breaking even by 2021, comes a week after rival Ola reduced its headcount.

The layoffs covered employees across segments, including customer and driver support, business development, legal, finance, policy and marketing verticals, Uber India said in a statement.

“The impact of covid-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery has left Uber India with no choice but to reduce the size of its workforce. Around 600 full-time positions across driver and rider support, as well as other functions, are being impacted. These reductions are part of previously announced global job cuts… Each will receive a minimum 10 weeks payout, medical insurance coverage for the next six months, outplacement support, be allowed to retain their laptops and given the option to join the Uber talent directory," Pradeep Parameswaran, president, Uber India and South Asia, said in a press statement.

In early May, Uber announced a downsizing process, affecting around 6,700 employees worldwide. Chief executive officer (CEO) Dara Khosrowshahi said in a recent conference call that the company has already planned expenditure cutbacks worth $1 billion due to business disruptions caused by covid-19.

According to Uber Technologies Inc.’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US in early May, the company has committed to paying up to $145 million worldwide to employees in severance pay and other benefits such as insurance.

Uber’s India rival, Ola, trimmed around 1,400 jobs last week after the coronavirus pandemic severely hit travel.

In March, Uber India sold its food delivery business to Zomato. The deal also included UberEats picking up a 10% stake in Zomato. Apart from India, Uber has exited at least eight food delivery markets in the past few quarters, according to its SEC filings.

Uber said in January-March 2020, the number of rides globally fell 13% sequentially to 1.65 billion. Gross bookings, which include dollar revenue, taxes, tolls and fees, stood at $15.8 billion in Q1 2020, a 13% decline against Q4 2019.

Uber’s overall Q1 2020 revenue rose 14% year-on-year to $3.54 billion. The company’s net loss widened to $2.9 billion in the reporting quarter, a 163% increase from the $1.1 billion loss reported in the first quarter of 2019.

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Updated: 27 May 2020, 12:12 AM IST
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