Uber exploiting interns and conducting illegally in China: Report

According to local reports, interns at Uber work for as many as 15 hours a day and have been threatened with lawsuits after questioning their own dismissal.
Written by Liu Jiayi, Contributor

American car-hailing mobile application developer Uber was accused of exploiting a huge number of underpaid interns while breaking Chinese laws by keeping the intern after graduation and dismissing them unfairly, as reported by Sina on Wednesday.

According to Li Yifan, a former operation assistant who was in charge of monitoring more than 20 interns at a time, Uber's Guangzhou branch employs at least 50 interns, none of whom signed any form of interning agreement or contract with the company.

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.

Less than 8 percent of the interns have been able to secure a permanent position after the arduous journey which leaves "their hands shaking at the end of the day", noted Li.

It was also claimed that the company even keeps 13 interns after they graduated from college without providing any job security or signing of labour contracts. Allegedly, in some cases, wages were paid in the form of taxi-calling coupons.

Li's claim was echoed by Ma Yingkai from Nankai University, a dismissed Uber intern in the city of Tianjin. Ma said that Uber not only ate its words in its providing of an internship certificate to the students, something essential 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 suddenly 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. The charges, which Ma denied, were that the activation team violated regulations and allowed banned drivers back online for a profit.

Ma didn't sign the agreement and tried to contact the Uber management in Tianjin, but Uber didn't respond and blacklisted everyone in the team on WeChat, an popular online chatting App in China. According to Ma, the company even 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.

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