Recently, employees at various Walmart stores across China have undergone strikes against the new working hour system. Previously, Walmart used a standard working hour system, however, since May, certain stores have begun implementing a comprehensive working hour system. Currently, stores where strikes have occurred include those in Nanchang, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Harbin.
Standard working hour system: Fulltime employees work 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, amounting to 40 hours a week.
Comprehensive working hour system: Fulltime employees work 4-11 hours a day, for 3-6 days a week, amounting to 20-66 hours a week.
For employees, the comprehensive working hour system reduces employee benefits and leave is not guaranteed.
The personnel department of Walmart told employees that the comprehensive working hour system allows more flexibility for work. However, employees feel that there will be no guarantee as to how many will actually attend work every day.
According to information from an employee, Walmart did not provide employees with much time to consider the changes. When changes to the working hour system was announced, employees were asked to sign an agreement on the spot, if they refused to sign, they would not be able to leave the meeting. At times, there were means by which employees were forced to sign the agreement.
China Labor Watch believes that the change in working hour system is a clear infringement of employees’ rights, violating both China’s Labor Contract Law and China’s Trade Union Law.
According to information received by CLW, some employees who had participated in the strike had requested a re-election of Walmart’s Trade Union. Currently, officials from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) have intervened in the matter.