Following news of Uber planning to cut over 3,500 jobs worldwide, Uber Sub-Saharan Africa said it cannot comment on what this means for Uber in South Africa.
MyBroadband asked Uber if its South African operation would be cutting any jobs or shutting down service centres as part of the global pullback.
Uber could also not comment on trends it has seen since the lockdown began in South Africa, but confirmed that COVID-19 has significantly affected its business globally.
“With people taking fewer trips, the unfortunate reality is that there isn’t enough work for many of our frontline customer support employees,” said an Uber spokesperson.
Uber said that while it has moved quickly to reduce costs like incentives and marketing, the volume of work at its greenlight hubs and for its community operations teams is proportional to trip volumes.
Uber said that while it believes it will recover when cities start moving again, it cannot predict when this will happen.
It explained it would reduce its global team of customer-facing employees by about 3,500, with about 160 employees in talent acquisition also set to lose their jobs.
This translates to about 14% of global staff, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an email.
40% of Uber’s Greenlight Hubs – centres used to sign people up to Uber, teach them how to use the app, and address issues that arise – are also going to be closed.
“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,” said Uber.
Khosrowshahi said that more “difficult adjustments” are set to be announced in the next two weeks.
“Days like this are brutal,” said Khosrowshahi.
In April, Uber Direct – an on-demand and scheduled last-mile delivery solution for businesses and organisations – was launched in South Africa.
Businesses and organisations can use Uber Direct to move goods within their supply chains as well as between locations to better balance supply and demand.
Uber said this will help businesses ensure customers receive their orders on time.
“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.”