Uber lays off 40% of Cairo office, largest in Middle East

The layoffs come amid global cuts as the coronavirus pandemic sees revenues drop.

al-monitor Employees work inside Uber's Centre of Excellence office in Cairo, Oct. 10, 2017.  Photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh.

May 7, 2020

Uber fired hundreds of office staff in Egypt via email Wednesday, cutting the company’s office workforce in the country by some 40% as part of its global layoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The cuts came as Uber announced it was laying off some 3,700 employees worldwide out of the company’s nearly 27,000 employees.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced Wednesday that he would not accept his $1 million base salary for the rest of 2020.

The CEO sent an email to employees Wednesday promising “generous severance packages with a longer period of healthcare coverage to help provide a bridge” for employees affected by the layoffs, though the CEO did not specify for how long, according to a copy of the email provided to Al-Monitor.

Khosrowshahi also promised “a further, final update … within two weeks.”

A spokesperson for Uber declined to provide further details.

An email sent by Uber Vice President Troy Stevenson said virtual meetings for employees Wednesday and Thursday would “explain next steps,” and noted that a number of employees would be let go immediately.

Employees of Cairo’s Uber office said they were still waiting to hear details about severance pay and health care, and that two meetings held by local managers since Wednesday afternoon offered no clarity.

Cairo’s Uber office employees were already working from home due to the pandemic when the company’s online interface stopped working at about noon Wednesday for many of them.

“Suddenly all of the access for the system was gone,” an employee told Al-Monitor.

Managers replied to requests for assistance by saying there was a “global outage” of the system.

The company’s CEO sent the email announcement three hours later. Managers then clarified that anyone who received the email would be let go.

Cairo’s main Uber office employed as many as 700 people until Wednesday, according to employees.

Egypt is the ride-sharing company’s largest market in the Middle East.

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