Uber South Africa silent on job cuts

Uber South Africa has declined to share numbers or information about job cuts in the country.

This follows Uber announcing two sets of job cuts affecting over 6,500 employees globally – accounting for over a quarter of the company’s total staff.

“While we cannot share any local numbers, we can confirm that employees in over 50 countries were impacted,” said Uber South Africa.

“As we said in our Q1 earnings call, our global Rides business was down around 80% in the month of April.”

“With people taking fewer trips, the unfortunate reality is that there isn’t enough work for many of our frontline customer support employees,” it said.

Uber South Africa previously declined to provide details regarding job cuts when the first wave was announced two weeks ago.

It said it could not comment on whether it would be cutting any jobs or shutting down service centres as part of the global cutback.

Global Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the company’s Q1 earnings call that Uber does not believe the implications of the pandemic will affect it for years to come, however.

“We believe the disruption caused by COVID-19 will impact our timeline by a matter of quarters, not years,” said Khosrowshahi.

However, he was quick to highlight that he would not make any claims of certainty.

“Having learned my own personal lesson about the unpredictability of the world from the punch-in-the-gut called COVID-19, I will not make any claims with absolute certainty regarding our future,” said Khosrowshahi.

“I will tell you, however, that we are making really, really hard choices now, so that we can say our goodbyes, have as much clarity as we can, move forward, and start to build again with confidence.”

Uber Direct

While Uber’s Rides business may be struggling, its other businesses have been an important part of South Africa’s lockdown.

Uber Eats has extended its delivery system to deliver essential items including medication, toiletries, and food.

It has also launched Uber Direct – an on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solution for businesses and organisations.

These entities can use Uber Direct to move goods within their supply chains as well as between locations to better balance supply and demand.

“This is our broadest effort yet to help businesses meet unprecedented demand for delivery, and helping people stay at home while still getting the items they need,” said Director for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits.

“Uber Direct also allows us to unlock economic opportunities for delivery people and drivers now and beyond the lockdown.”

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Uber South Africa silent on job cuts