Shopify, the $57 billion e-commerce platform, is laying off Australian workers via email
A major e-commerce platform has suddenly laid off some of its Australian workers in a late night email – leaving them furious at the lack of communication.
Shopify, which is worth about $57 billion, said in the email late Tuesday night that it would be shedding about 10 percent of its 10,000 employees worldwide.
Company founder Tobias Lütke wrote that he expected the pandemic-driven surge in online spending to continue – but admitted he “got it wrong” after the company’s shares plummeted.
Now Australian staff have revealed they were not consulted about the redundancies as they believed they had weathered an earlier round of cuts.
“There were a lot more processes over there [in North America]said a former Brisbane Times staffer.
“But nothing here. Nothing. We all talk to each other and try to figure out what’s going on.”
Shopify, which is worth about $57 billion, laid off about 10 percent of its 10,000 employees worldwide late Tuesday night. Pictured is founder Tobias Lütke with Barack Obama
Now Australian employees have announced they were not consulted about the redundancies
“We thought we had survived a reorganization,” said another employee.
“There’s also a lot of anger, some of the others I spoke to were crying.”
Shopify is the software that powers online stores like JB Hi-Fi and also has partnerships with brands like Amazon.
The company expanded rapidly during the pandemic as lockdowns and anti-Covid measures led to a surge in online shopping.
Since then, however, the market has slowed and turned around, with its shares plummeting 80 percent from their peak last year.
All Shopify employees received an email from Mr Lutke, who is also the company’s global chief executive, at around 10:30pm Australian time on Tuesday evening, informing them of cuts.
Affected employees were then sent in more detail, with Australian workers being offered slots on Tuesday to speak to managers or HR.
The Canada-based firm offered the cut workers 16 weeks’ salary plus an additional week for each year of service.
It has promised to let employees keep company-bought home office furniture and scrap “equity cliff” rules that can prevent former employees from retaining shares in the company.
A Shopify spokesman referred Daily Mail Australia to Mr Lütke’s email to employees, which the company also made public when asked for comment.
In an email, company founder Tobias Lütke, pictured with his wife Fiona McKean, said he expected the pandemic-induced surge in online spending to continue – but said he got it wrong.
In his email, he said he had hoped the lockdown surge in online shopping would be permanent – but admitted he “got it wrong”.
“As the Covid pandemic hit, almost all retail went online due to shelter-in-place orders. Demand for Shopify skyrocketed,” Mr. Lütke wrote.
“Shopify has always been a company that makes the big strategic bets that our merchants ask of us – that’s how we thrive.
“We’re betting that the channel mix — the percentage of dollars that flow through e-commerce rather than physical retail — would jump 5 or even 10 years permanently. We couldn’t know for sure at the time, but we knew we would have to expand the business accordingly if there was a chance that this might be the case.”
“Now it is clear that the bet did not pay off. In the end it was my decision to place that bet and I was wrong.’