Ex-Walmart workers in Shenzhen jump threat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 12:00am


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Two former Walmart workers who were fired on Monday after a strike last week threatened to jump off a building in Shenzhen yesterday.

They climbed onto the roof of a warehouse in Walmart's distribution centre in the Pingshan New Zone at noon and threatened to jump if the company did not address their concerns.

Police removed them from the roof around 8pm and sent them to a hospital.

They were among about 50 workers who staged a protest last Thursday in a failed demand for a pay rise. Six had been fired by yesterday for violating company policy and causing losses, one of the laid-off workers said.

'We are among 500 workers in the distribution centre. Since last year, we have seen our incomes decline because we were told there was no need to work overtime. And the company also cancelled the housing allowance of 500 yuan (HK$605).

'We don't want to work less for fear of being paid less, but now we can only earn about 2,000 yuan a month, hardly enough to be able to afford the cost of living in Shenzhen.'

He said about 15 per cent of the workforce had been told last month that they would not receive pay rises this year because their performance at work had not been satisfactory.

'We think what the company did is to try to force us to quit the job,' the worker said. 'It's a trick so that they can lay workers off and pay no compensation.'

According to mainland labour law, firms looking to lay off more than 20 people or 10 per cent of their workforce now need to get approval from local authorities.

Walmart China said yesterday it had no more details to disclose. It said it was trying to 'communicate with workers and make all efforts to ensure their safety and well-being' and was working with the local authorities to try to resolve the issue.