Coronavirus: Gojek to retrench 9% of its workforce, impact on team in Singapore believed to be minimal

Retrenched employees will be provided with benefits. PHOTO: GOJEK

SINGAPORE - Indonesian start-up Gojek is axing 430 workers - mostly in Indonesia - and removing some services to cope with the impact from the pandemic.

The sackings - they amount to 9 per cent of its total headcount - will be its only pandemic-related layoffs, the firm said.

The Straits Times understands that the impact on Gojek's team in Singapore is minimal.

Gojek said on Tuesday night (June 23) that it will now prioritise three main services - payments, transport and food delivery.

The job cuts follow those of main rival Grab, which announced earlier this month that it is cutting about 360 positions, or about 5 per cent of its headcount.

Gojek said on Tuesday: "The measures will provide the company with resources to focus on the business areas where it has the most impact ... but also the services that have shown promise as a result of the pandemic, such as logistics, which has grown by 80 per cent, or groceries, which has more than doubled."

Gojek will axe its GoLife service, which offers home services of massage and cleaning. Its physical food locations service will also be closed.

"These businesses are dependent on close human interaction, and have seen a significant downturn over the past few months as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected consumer habits," said Gojek.

Retrenched employees will be provided with benefits, including enhanced severance payments, a health insurance scheme extension, outplacement support and being allowed to keep their laptops.

Gojek co-founders Kevin Aluwi and Andre Soelistyo apologised to affected employees in an e-mail on Tuesday.

Mr Soelistyo said the pair had naively imagined that Gojek's rate of growth would always accelerate: "We didn't plan enough for the inevitable downturn and we are paying for that now."

Mr Aluwi added: "One of my biggest fears as a leader is failing all of you, hence that was by far the hardest moment I had at Gojek, until today.

"We are sorry that this time we have failed you."

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