Micro-mobility startup Grow accused of not paying employees
Micro-mobility startup Grow accused of not paying employees

Micro-mobility startup Grow accused of not paying employees

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Contxto – What’s worse? Unemployment or being employed but not getting paid? It appears this is the dilemma workers at electric scooter startup Grow and its Mexican subsidiary, Grin, are facing. 

In light of self-isolation and limited mobility (thanks Covid-19), Grin’s income has been hit hard. Although it’s been sold to an undisclosed party, the money is tighter than we know. So much so that an employee has anonymously stepped up stating that workers aren’t being paid. 

As you may recall, in late March, scooter distributors were relocated or laid off. Now a new allegation has emerged. At any rate, we’ll present you with both sides of the story and let you draw your own conclusions.

All work and no pay, say Grin workers

On Monday (25), someone wrote an anonymous post on Medium in which they state that they haven’t been paid by Grin for the first half of May. 

Note: For those of you who don’t know, in countries like Mexico and Colombia, employees tend to be paid on a fortnightly basis, more or less every 15 days. This form of payment is often referred to as a “quincena.”

Anyway, here’s are the post’s key highlights:

  • In early April, Grin’s HR team stated that because of the Covid-19 emergency, workers’ salaries would be halved for the next month and a half—just until the scooters could hit the streets again. Given the uncertainty of the situation, staff agreed.
  • On May 14, Grow’s CFO told employees that they wouldn’t receive their quincena pay. “They told us there was no money, no income, there was nothing,” said the post’s author.
  • Staff in Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and Peru have yet to receive their pay.
  • German investors are said to have bought the company, according to the anonymous post, and everyone was waiting for an investment round.

The unnamed author went on to say that staff hasn’t gotten a word from Sergio Romo and Jonathan Lewy, Grin’s co-Founders.

The Medium stunt seems to have worked because within a couple of days it got Romo’s attention.

Grin’s co-Founder speaks up

In the response section of the post, Romo clarified that as of February 2020, the startup was no longer in the co-Founders’ hands but rather in those of the purchasing party. They have no sway in the decisions made by its current owners. However, he said empathizes with the author’s frustration.

Grow talks

Likewise, Contxto reached out to Grow for commentary on the post. 

The micro-mobility startup stated that workers’ pays hadn’t been halved, nor had it been bought out by German investors. 

Nonetheless, “the company is going through a difficult financial situation, which is why salaries have been delayed until a new investment is received,” said Grow in written correspondence.

Put simply: The good news is that salaries are still whole. The bad news is nobody is getting their salary. The startup also clarified that this conundrum is only happening in Mexico and Colombia.

Working at a startup

All things considered, there are lots of accusations and only a few answers. 

What I do know, and concur with the post’s author, is that working in a startup comes with its share of advantages and risks. When you work at or launch a startup, the highs are jet-stream high and the lows are abysmal.

What’s important is that leadership be as transparent and upfront with staff as possible about what’s happening (both the good and bad). Otherwise, communication can get out of control, and next thing you know, people are posting anonymously on Medium.

Corporate communication is no cake walk, I’ll tell ya that.

Wanna hear more? We recommend you listen to the following podcast episode: Brasil se va de Compras Ft. Benjamín Labra de Houm. You can find the time stamp available in the description.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Mexico!

-ML

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