Grab to hold townhall meetings across its Southeast Asian markets to address concerns of Uber employees

Grab will hold join townhall meetings hosted by its co-founders across the various Southeast Asian markets it operates in on March 27.
Business Insider/Jonathan Loh

Ride-hailing firm Grab said it will hold joint townhall meetings on Tuesday (March 27) afternoon to address concerns of employees affected by its announcement a day earlier that it is acquiring rival Uber’s Southeast Asian businesses.

As part of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Grab while its chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board.

In a phone interview with Business Insider, Grab’s regional head of people operations Ms Ong Chin Yin said the company has been reaching out to Uber employees via LinkedIn and other connections to inform them of the meeting which will be hosted by its co-founders across the various Southeast Asian cities it operates in at 4.30pm (Singapore time).

These cities comprise Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Once we are able to get individual ways of connecting with them, we intend to schedule conversations between the Uber team and their Grab counterparts to see what their roles are and how they will fit in,” she said.

“This is a two-way conversation. We are committed to find everyone the right role.”

On Monday, more than 500 Uber employees in the region were put on paid gardening leave for up to three months while Grab explores opportunities for them that best fit “their skills and experiences”.

For those on employment permits, Grab said it is prepared to help with their applications to the relevant authorities for their permits to be transferred to the company.

“Yesterday was an emotional and trying day for Uber employees in Southeast Asia. We fully understand the uncertainty and anxiety Uber employees feel during this initial transition phase,” said Ms Ong.

Various media reports on Monday also said that Singapore’s competition authority has not received a notification of the merger and is writing to both parties to clarify the details.

The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) said that Singapore’s competition law prohibits mergers “that may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition”, according to a Business Times report.

If the CCS finds that a merger situation is expected to result in such a lessening, it has powers to give directions to remedy the matter such as requiring the merger to be unwound or be modified.

The Uber service will be available in Southeast Asia for another two weeks until April 8 for Grab to onboard Uber drivers onto its platform.