Gojek cuts 430 jobs, axes some services to cope with virus fallout

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

The sackings - amounting 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 last night 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 was cutting about 360 positions, or about 5 per cent of its headcount.

Gojek said: "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 staff 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 yesterday.

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