How many Uber offices are there in the world

So Uber wants to secure the jobs of its drivers in Germany

Depending on the city, Uber traffic has decreased by 50 to 60 percent. So far, the crisis has not had any existential effects on drivers in Germany.

The downsizing at Uber is initially hitting office jobs across all regions of the United States. Among other things, customer care, which also plays a role in Germany, is affected. A spokesman did not want to give a specific number for Germany on request. Uber itself has around 50 employees in Germany who deal with administration and customer care.

After a long legal squabble with the taxi cooperatives, Uber named the established Berlin limousine operator Safedriver as the main contractor for the app-arranged trips at the end of 2019. Its founder Mohnke, however, only handles a small part of the traffic with its own drivers. Subcontractors take care of the rest.

These are limousine companies with several dozen vehicles, but also self-employed people. These sole proprietorships with commercial and passenger transport licenses make up about a quarter of the Uber fleet. Mohnke itself employs 760 people and does - in addition to other offers - around five percent of Uber trips with its own drivers.

In total, the rental car industry in Germany employs around 40,000 drivers, the majority of whom take on Uber jobs at least occasionally.

Short-time work and liquidity support

Accordingly, Mohnke and his partners use different instruments. Safedriver and the other larger fleet operators put their employees on short-time work. "We are very grateful to the federal government for the flexibility that is guaranteed," said Mohnke. This enables us to react to fluctuations in demand from day to day. This makes it possible that hardly any driver actually has to stay at home completely.

"We try to balance this with the wishes of the employees, some of whom look after their children at home," said Mohnke. The Federal Labor Office increases the loss of earnings via the usual short-time allowance. Mohnke's drivers usually receive an hourly wage of around eleven euros plus surcharges and tips.

Self-employed people, on the other hand, cannot take short-time work. Depending on the federal state, you will receive different help, usually a mixture of a lump sum and up to 9,000 euros in liquidity help to cover costs. “For a period of three months, the sole traders have compensation for their operating costs. We don't see any existential problems here, ”said Mohnke. In individual cases, he promises specific additional help - for drivers who belong to risk groups, for example.

Thomas Kroker, CEO of the Munich Taxi Cooperative, is less optimistic. After nine weeks of downtime, many self-employed people have run out of emergency aid, he fears. A number of medium-sized taxi companies can no longer afford to pre-finance the short-time work allowance for their employees. "Many have already had to lay off employees," he said. The fact that some companies were able to lend employees to parcel services to handle the higher volume of shipments brought some relief.

Taxi entrepreneurs are cutting jobs

In the meantime, Kroker sees a small ray of hope: After an Easter low of 150 taxis on Munich's streets, 390 out of 3,326 taxis are currently in use. However, the disused gastronomy is still noticeable. "In contrast to Uber, which is relatively strong in tourist trips, taxis still have sick and disabled trips," he says - and estimates the break-in more than Safedriver boss Mohnke. “This is the worst crisis for our industry since the Second World War,” says Kroker.

Even during the crisis, the established taxi companies and the attacker Uber remain bitter competitors. Despite the reduction in the fleet, Uber wants to keep waiting times within the usual range of two to eight minutes in competition with taxis in Germany. That has been successful so far, said Mohnke.

However, the entrepreneur, who has been in the industry for four decades, is observing shifts: Demand even increased at night during the week - apparently because many people avoid buses and trains. Some cities currently allow you to take a taxi, Uber or FreeNow at night with a local transport ticket.

As a hygiene measure, both Uber and taxis require a mask, and most of the cars have been fitted with separating discs. "The release films are very popular with people," said Mohnke. You would give them a feeling of security

Mohnke is currently not taking on new drivers - even if they are advertised on the Uber homepage. At the moment hardly any interested parties are reporting anyway, because it is clear to everyone that the industry is suffering from the crisis, he observed.

The German competitor FreeNow has already announced the consequences of the crisis: A "three-digit number" of the 1400 jobs worldwide will be cut, the company announced. This is also due to the accelerated integration of an acquired French subsidiary.

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