Wal-Mart employees in China have launched a series of strikes in protest of the company’s new work schedules, as the American retailer overhauls its declining business amid slowing economic growth and tough competition from e-commerce.
According to the employees, the company intends to make its staff work for 11 hours on weekends and only four hours on weekdays under a system that started last month.
The new work schedules might also affect the pay of the employees, along with interfering with their ability to work for second jobs.
Though the employees were given the option to work under previous contracts, their income was reduced as meal subsidies and other payments were eliminated from their paycheck, reported Associated Press.
Staff members at several stores in Nanchang, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Harbin have protested against the new system, while some have also launched a number of strikes in stores in Nanchang, Chengdu and Harbin.
Australian National University Sociology professor Anita Chan was quoted by Financial Times as saying: "Most strikes are in one workplace. This is different. Walmart has many stores in China and uses the same management methods in all the stores.
"So these workers understand everyone’s situation: they are all the same."
In response to the series of protests and unofficial strikes, the retail company has introduced a new system of scheduling working hours for the workers across its China-based hypermarkets.
According to the company, a majority of its staff members support the new system as it allows them to work additional shifts if they wish to do so, reported Reuters.