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Tuesday Ticker: March 9, 2021

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— This week’s Tuesday Ticker sees Canadian Uber employees issue complaints, a Canadian auto parts maker’s Q4 profits drop by 12 percent and General Motors extends microchip shortage closures.

Courier complaints

A recent report straight from Uber Technologies says the company’s Canadian drivers and couriers don’t think they receive dependable earnings. 

Out of a survey of 23,428 drivers/couriers earning wages through the ride-sharing and food delivery giant’s platform, just 31 percent rated Uber as ‘good’ for dependable earnings. One quarter described the pay as ‘poor’ and 43 percent said it was just ‘ok’.

The survey was conducted by Uber and Qualtrics last October and was released after UberEats couriers complained that a change in the company’s pay system resulted in their average earnings sliding from as much as $10 a trip before tips to as low as $3.99 during the pandemic.

Drivers and couriers are now calling for more transparency on how their fares are calculated, the release of details on minimum earnings before accepting trips and lower commissions on long trips. 

Despite the complaints, Uber maintains that 80 percent of those surveyed were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the company, while 65 percent think it has either done enough or gone above and beyond for its workers amid the pandemic. 

Martinrea of optimism

Toronto-based auto parts manufacturer reported its Q4 2020 sales last week, with net profit falling 12 percent to nearly $45 million in the final quarter.

The company says it earned 56 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter⁠—down from 63 cents per share or $51.2 million a year earlier.

Revenues for the three months ended Dec. 31 increased 16.7 percent to $1.07 billion from $917.6 million in the prior year.

For the full-year, it lost $27.3 million or 34 cents per share, compared with a profit of $181.2 million or $2.19 per diluted share in 2019.

Adjusted profits dropped to $46.9 million or 58 cents per share, down from $187.7 million or $2.27 per share a year earlier.

Revenues decreased 12.6 percent to $3.37 billion, from $3.86 billion in 2019.

The company says it remains “optimistic” for its prospects in electric vehicles.

No chips, no dip

General Motors said last Wednesday it would be extending production cuts at three North American plants⁠—including its CAMI assembly plant in Ontario⁠—until at least mid-April amid ongoing semiconductor microchip shortages.

The automaker had previously said production would be paused at the Ontario facility, along with two other plants in Kansas, U.S. and Mexico until mid-March. 

“Our intent is to make up as much production lost at these plants as possible,” the company also said. “We contemplated this downtime when we discussed our outlook for 2021 last month.”

The U.S.’s Biden Administration is currently seeking $37 billion in funding in order to bolster the United States’ semiconductor chip manufacturing capabilities and help address the ongoing microchip supply shortage. The majority of microchips are currently made in China, Taiwan and elsewhere in East Asia.

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