Five large companies in the consumer internet space in India have announced reduction of over 4,000 jobs over the last one month, on account of contraction in business due to Covid-19-led lockdown and the subsequent fall in demand.
On Tuesday, US-based cab-aggregator Uber announced it will lay off around 600 full time employees in the India-South Asia region, a majority of which are located in India, due to the “impact of Covid-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery”.
In total, five companies — Uber India and South Asia, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy and Cure.fit — have together announced the reduction of around 4,441 jobs in the last one month. “The impact of Covid-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery has left Uber India SA 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 this month,” said Pradeep Parameswaran, president, Uber India and South Asia. The number of laid off staff comprised about a fourth of Uber India and South Asia’s employee base.
The taxi-hailing company said the layoffs were part of previously announced global job cuts. Last week, the firm’s parent company — US-based Uber Technologies — announced a 23 per cent reduction in its workforce.
Uber’s Indian rival Ola, which saw its revenue fall by 95 per cent over the last two months, last week announced that it will be letting go off 1,400 employees. “… the prognosis ahead for our business is very unclear and uncertain. It is going to take a long time for people to go out and about like before. With more companies preferring to have a large number of employees work from home, air travel limited to essential trips and vacations being put off for better times, the impact of this crisis is definitely going to be long-drawn for us,” Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal wrote in an e-mail to employees, adding that the crisis has affected livelihood of millions of the company’s drivers.
Prior to this, the two largest food-tech companies in India — Swiggy and Zomato — announced, in quick succession, the plan to prune their employee base. Exhorting that the number restaurants is expected to shrink by 25-40 per cent over the next 6-12 months, Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal wrote to the company’s staffers that around 14 per cent of them, or 541 people, have been asked to look for new jobs. Swiggy CEO Sriharsha Majety told the employees that the core food delivery business had been severely hit and was likely to stay impacted over the short term. To this effect, he announced letting go off 1,100 employees.
Similarly, health and fitness startup Cure.fit had also laid off around 800 people, in an effort to reduce costs.
In addition to the layoffs, some of these companies have also announced salary cuts for a chunk of their employees. Zomato said its staff will undergo a temporary salary reduction of up to 50 per cent, with some of the senior members taking a voluntary pay cut of 100 per cent. Similarly, Ola said that over the past couple of months, all members of its extended leadership team had taken “significant salary cuts”.
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