UWV: Uber is not allowed to fire employees

UWV: Uber is not allowed to fire employees
UWV: Uber is not allowed to fire employees

Tech company Uber does not receive permission from the benefits agency UWV to fire a group of employees at the international head office in Amsterdam. The UWV announced this to those involved on Thursday.

In June, as part of a global round of layoffs, Uber decided to terminate the contracts of 200 workers in Amsterdam. For the affected employees, the company applied for collective redundancies from the UWV. But before the benefits agency could provide a solution, most employees had already individually signed for dismissal. The company behind the well-known taxi app has a thousand employees in Amsterdam.

Signs of the dismissal agreement went under high pressure, this month’s investigation showed NRC. Employees, who were told on Friday 12 June via video service Zoom that they had to leave, were disconnected from all internal systems a day later. They then received daily reminders from Uber to sign for resignation and were said to have “their job title ceased to exist.”

Of the two hundred employees, mainly expats, about ten decided not to sign for voluntary departure. A number of them received a letter from the UWV on Thursday, with the opinion that Uber could not provide sufficient arguments to justify the dismissals. The employees involved do not want to respond to questions from NRC.

Uber said the layoffs were the result of “the dramatic impact of the pandemic and the unpredictable nature of any recovery.”

Read more about NRC’s research: ‘This is how it goes when Uber fires employees’

Jobs to India

Uber is facing significant sales declines due to a stalled taxi market due to the corona crisis. In the third quarter of this year, Uber posted sales of $ 3.1 billion ($ 2.6 billion) – 18 percent less than a year earlier – and the company lost more than a billion dollars.

According to the UWV, Uber could not sufficiently demonstrate that the work reduction the company is facing is of a structural nature. The benefits agency also points to statements by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who has repeatedly informed his staff that the sales decline is slower than initially thought. On September 1, Khosrowshahi said, at a staff meeting, that he had been “stricter than absolutely necessary” in view of the layoffs.

Techwebsite The Information revealed in early November that Uber is seizing the pandemic to move technical staff jobs to India to cut costs and return the company to profitability. While entire technical departments were being dismantled in the Netherlands, Uber announced in October that it was recruiting 225 new software developers in India.

Amrit Sewgobind of the FNV trade union says he is “very pleased” with the UWV’s decision. “This shows that even powerful companies like Uber are simply bound by Dutch dismissal law if they want to fire employees.”

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