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Laid off workers occupy Grin’s scooter warehouse in Mexico City, Covid-19 to blame says Grow

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

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Contxto – Much like Uber in Colombia, micro-mobility startup Grow is always up to something or surrounded by uncertainty. And today is not the exception.

Today (25), Contxto received footage of staff from GrinGrow’s Mexican outfit—taking control of one of the startup’s scooter warehouse installations in Mexico City. In the tumult, it appears the video’s author, alongside more than a dozen other participants, are protesting after finding out that the startup would no longer be requiring their services. 

According to the video’s author, this was happening because Grin was entering bankruptcy.

But as usual, there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and Grin steps in to clarify all this hubbub.

Related post: Micro-mobility startups struggle in Latam amid pandemic

Protests and layoffs?

In the video, a person claims to be in Grin’s offices in Mexico City. He quoted the company’s address and went on to tell his tale.

We were just told, not by any CEO, but by some lawyers we’ve never seen before, that [the company] is going broke. That there’s no money for our settlement payment and that they’re giving us a job option with another salary but at another company. But first we have to receive our settlement. Otherwise we have no options and we have to get what’s ours, so we’re going to take control of the installations.

The fact that there were hundreds of green Grin scooters hooked up on racks on the video suggests he was in a scooter storage area rather than the corporate offices. So he, and more than a dozen other staff members, were taking hold of this warehouse and refusing to leave until they received their settlement.

But, there are always two sides to a story.

And with so many rumors surrounding this particular micro-mobility startup, Contxto reached out to Sergio Romo, Grin’s Co-Founder for commentary.

Related article: Grow’s woes: Mobility app officially announces acquisition talks

Stop the presses and hold the phone!

“We’ve never stated that [Grin] is broke,” clarified Romo over written correspondence. “And no lawyer has said this to the employees.” 

We’re undergoing a special situation wherein operations have been halted due to coronavirus in nearly every country and maintaining the same level of [our] operational team on the streets is not sustainable, particularly the people who transport the scooters.

Sergio Romo, Grin’s Co-Founder

So what’s to become of this staff, including the disgruntled author of the video? The Co-founder does shed some light on the matter.

“Right now we’re looking to help this staff who transport scooters find jobs at companies that have openings.”

Things are moving quickly at Grin. Today (25) it announced via social media that it’s suspended its scooter operations in Mexico City. Romo also told Contxto that its service has been paused in Guadalajara as well.

What does it all mean?!

In sum, no, Grin is not broke. 

Perhaps the guy from the video misinterpreted what was said. So in that sense it’s just another mix up.

Also, people are being sent to other companies. Not fired, per se.

In any case, a startup that’s striving for profitability can’t afford to have idle staff. Especially when scooter rides are likely to drop amidst the pandemic. Ouch.

And when you read between the lines, the fact that employees are making a stand like this and are taking control of a warehouse suggests that communication at Grin is having some very rough days.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Mexico!

-ML

Mariana López
Eager learner and fervent asker of existential questions. My topic darlings are startup management, edtech and all things pop-culture. If you don't see me smiling, I'm probably just hungry. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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