Grab to offer positions to Uber staff

Grab's logo seen at its office on Nov 1, 2017.
Grab's logo seen at its office on Nov 1, 2017. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Ride-hailing firm Grab will try to offer positions to all Uber staff in the region, a spokesman for the Singapore-based firm said.

This comes after Grab announced yesterday that it had acquired its American rival's operations in South-east Asia for an undisclosed amount, following several months of speculation.

As part of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab, while Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab's board.

Videos circulating on social mediayesterday showed staff in Uber's Mapletree Anson office vacating the premises.

Uber staff The Straits Times spoke to said that at 10am, hundreds of them were told to pack up their belongings and leave by 12.30pm. "We were just told to leave and wait for updates," said one staff member, who did not wish to be identified.

Staff were also told that they were "free to look for other jobs", adding to concern and confusion that jobs might be lost. They were also not told if they were being offered any compensation.

In a statement to the media, Grab said Uber employees were being placed on paid leave. "We understand it has been an emotional and trying day for Uber's employees in South-east Asia. On the part of Grab, we are committed to try and find everyone a home at Grab," the spokesman said.

She added that the firm will be talking to more than 500 Uber employees here to see "how they would fit into Grab".

In a video statement posted on social network LinkedIn, Grab's regional head of people operations, Ms Ong Chin Yin, said Grab's co-founders will hold a townhall meeting for all Uber employees in the region this afternoon.

National Trades Union Congress assistant director-general Ang Hin Kee said attempts to contact Uber and Lion City Rental went unanswered.

Human resources staff should have been tasked with engaging the staff on the move, he said, adding that drivers should also have had dedicated personnel to explain the situation to them.

"For causing unnecessary anxiety to drivers and staff, management should be held accountable," said the Ang Mo Kio GRC MP.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2018, with the headline 'Grab to offer positions to Uber staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe