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Wal-Mart China revises streamlining plan after trade union steps in
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13:25, April 24, 2009

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Wal-Mart China headquartered in south China's Shenzhen City has agreed to revise a plan on payroll cut involving 2,000 mid-level managers in its outlets nationwide, after a trade union stepped in to mediate, a union official said here Thursday.

"The company will give a one-off reward of 3,000 yuan (440 U.S. dollars) to those who agree to be transferred to work in other stores, or receive training offered by the company," said Wang Tongxin, vice chairman of the Shenzhen Federation of Trade Union.

The federation became involved after trade unions representing Wal-Mart workers reported on April 11 that senior management at the US-based retailer planned to relocate some mid-level managers to new stores in other Chinese cities under threat of demotion or even dismissal.

"After talks with the employee representatives, Wal-Mart has taken the concerns of the employees and made big revisions to its plan, which finally reached a win-win situation," said Wang.

Friday's China Daily also reported that the managers will be promoted to a higher position if their current positions have been cancelled in the new stores and they will not see a drop in salary.

Wal-Mart also agreed that managers who stay on at the same store would not be punished or miss out on a pay rise, the newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

The revisions will be applied to all Wal-Mart stores in China, according to the federation.

"It's understandable that a company adopts a restructuring plan at an adverse time, but the decision must be achieved after negotiation with the employees, rather than a one-sided order, if it would affect the benefits of the employees," Wang said.

Wal-Mart now has 104 outlets in China with 50,000 employees. The company plans to open 23 outlets in China this year, despite of the financial crisis.

"After revision, our program is going well. A growing number of employees understood the company's strategy and are willing to accept the arrangement," Chen Lu, a Wal-Mart China public relations official.

However, some employees have said it will take time to rebuild their trust.

"We are not sure now whether the company can keep its promise. Meanwhile, we are confused about the future. Some of the measures could not last for a long time," said a Wal-Mart manager in Shenzhen, who asked to remain anonymous.

Source: Xinhua

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