It appears what some call the irritating and contemptible attitude of Uber’s US management has been transplanted to its Chinese office.
The American developer of the car-hailing mobile application that is disrupting the entire taxicab and limousine industry has been accused of exploiting a huge number of underpaid interns.
Uber’s Guangzhou branch employs at least 50 interns, none of whom signed any form of interning agreement or contract with the company, said Li Yifan, a former operation assistant who managed about 20 interns.
The number of interns once reached seven times the amount of formal employees and they have to work 10 hours a day on average — some as many as 15 hours, according to Li’s social media account on Weibo.
Even after enduring such bad working conditions that leaves “their hands shaking at the end of the day,” according to Li, fewer than 8% of the interns were offered a permanent position.
The allegations say that the company kept 13 interns after they graduated from college without providing any job security or signing of labour contracts and paid them in the form of taxi-calling coupons.
One dismissed Uber intern in the city of Tianjin, Ma Yingkai from Nankai University said that Uber didn’t provide an internship certificate to the students, which they needed for graduation, but also fired an entire team of interns for no concrete reason and subsequently sabotaged their reputation.
Ma said on Weibo that a female high-level manager asked everyone in a driver activation team to sign a confidentiality agreement in June, and the team was dismissed the next morning through text messages.
Uber said that the activation team violated regulations and allowed banned drivers back online for a profit. Ma denied this.
Ma didn’t sign the agreement and tried to contact the Uber management in Tianjin.
Not only did Uber not respond, but the company allegedly blacklisted everyone in the team on WeChat, an popular online chatting App in China and threatened to take legal action against the dismissed interns.
Uber recently announced plans to expand its business in South China by opening its regional headquarters in Guangzhou, due to a surge in local user population in 2015.