Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) employees in China are holding protests against the company’s decision to deploy drastic overhauls in its work schedules.
The decision to change the work schedule comes at a time when the company is trying to sail through heavy competition from e-commerce as well as the slowing economy in the country. The firm’s employees in China claim that the new system that was rolled out in June requires them to work for a minimum of four hours during weekdays and 11-hour shifts during the weekends. Some of them believe that the new system might lead to lower wages as well as interfere with their schedules especially for those that juggle two or more jobs.
The employees held protests outside Walmart stores within Shenzhen and Nanchang in Southern China. Reports indicate that more than half of the Walmart employees in Shenzhen participated in the protests. Walmart claims that most of its employees support the new system. Jo Newbould Warner who is a spokesperson for the firm stated that the firm has already communicated the new system to its associates in the country and that most of them are on board with it.
The recent protests in China are not the first instance that the firm has found itself in such a situation. Walmart employees in the US were previously outraged when the company launched a scheduling system it dubbed “Just in time.”
The system was not attractive to employees because it reduced wages for some and drastically changed the working hours for employees on short notice. Walmart employees in China are represented by unions which are particularly interested in better working conditions for the workers as well as better pay. The current law in China dictates that employee contracts should have a span of two years. Employees argue that the requirement to work for 11 hours is unfair and burdensome.