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Editor’s note: This is the WCWA 2016 report by Zhang Jun in both Chinese and English. The report is a brief summary of the major work done by WCWA in 2016. Since 2014, besides providing effective legal support for Walmart employees shops all over China, including preparing documents for litigation (arbitration), strategy and evidence for court cases, WCWA has become a major platform to support Walmart workers’ communicate with each other, in voicing their grievances and later in the nationwide campaign platform to resist Walmart’s Integrated Working hours System (IWHS).To better support the Walmart employees’ actions against the IWHS, the Association has tried hard to raise funds to support those having financial difficulties in hiring lawyers for their litigation. At the end of 2016, Zhang Jun, the spokesperson of the Association launched an “Easy-to-Raise” fundraising campaign to raise legal fees for the Walmart workers who want to file a lawsuit against Walmart China. The target amount is RMB 50,000 (~Euro 6,900 and ~USD 7300). We would like to invite you and your network to actively participate in the fund raising campaign. For more information about WCWA’s fund raising campaign, please visit the link below:http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_165118a8b0102wig8.html (Chinese only), direct to donation: https://goo.gl/0pU598 or if you have any question, you can contact us at email@example.com for more details.
Walmart China Workers’ Association (WCWA) 2016 Year-end Report
December 31st 2016
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_165118a8b0102wixq.html (original Chinese version)
Dear Walmart colleagues:
Dear friends supporting Walmart colleagues’ rights:
2016 has been the most extraordinary year for the Walmart China Employees’ Association (hereinafter referred to as the “Association”) since its establishment in 2014. For the first half of the year, the Association and the Walmart colleagues were close and united in launching a nationwide massive resistance campaign against the Integrated Working-hours System forcefully pushed by Walmart China.
Although we did not completely stop Walmart’s implementation of the Integrated Working-hours System, due to the boycott of the Integrated Working Hours System, many of our good colleagues were retaliated against. Some face a difficult situation, and many have even been dismissed. Through the strikes, the network media, litigation, media exposure, petitions and other means, we have seriously disrupted Walmart’s plan to implement the System.
2016 was also a year in which the Association encountered a tough test. This is precisely because of our solidarity and perseverance in the struggle for our rights. So far, Walmart does not dare to openly admit that it has started to implement the Integrated Working-hours System but has instead called it “hourly pay”. Through this event, we have further learned about the yellow nature of the Walmart trade unions. The yellow unions have acted as Walmart’s main accomplice in pushing the System! Walmart unions should resist the Integrated Working-hours System together with the ordinary employees, and union support is the most powerful weapon to resist the Integrated Working-hours System.
Reflecting on the past seven months’ experience against Walmart’s strong push to implement the Integrated Working Hours System, we should think deeply about the following two questions:
1. How will we reorganize the Walmart -controlled yellow union into a democratically elected union led by the general employees in future? As always, the Association will continue to provide all kinds of support and help to Walmart colleagues on this issue.
2. Walmart always advocates “respect individuals, act in good faith” the so-called Walmart corporate culture to its employees, however, does Walmart itself comply with it?
On the last day of 2016, the Association made the following 2016 year-end report:
In the first four months (from January to April) of 2016, the Association continued to provide a platform for network communication for employees throughout the country through WeChat, QQ, blogs and other social media tools, and provided guidance and other recommendations on laws and rights for Walmart employees.
From May 2016 onward, Walmart workers’ resistance campaign against the Integrated Working Hours System has engaged one-fifth of all Walmart employees in China and around twenty thousand Walmart employees were united under the Association’s network platform. At the same time, the Association has withstood more cruel and severe tests coming from all sides.
The key work done by the Association in 2016 was as follows:
1. Provided a platform for network communication for 20,000 Walmart China employees throughout the country through WeChat, QQ, blogs and other social media tools, to organize together to discuss the plan to resist the implementation of the Integrated Working Hours System. Through this platform, Walmart’s activists and Walmart employees could encourage and interact with each other. This created huge pressure on Walmart.
In the early stage of the resistance against the Integrated Working-hours System, the Association and its lawyer provided assistance to Walmart store employees in different cities, such as legal advice and suggestions when workers had to meet with the labor inspection departments, local trade unions and had negotiations with Walmart management. It helped the workers to quickly learn about Walmart’s conspiracy plan and thus the Association earned the high trust of Walmart workers. For more about the Association’s work, please visit the blog below:
3. According to a video http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTg5Mjk1NTA0MA==.html a Walmart regional manager blames Walmart employees for choosing to believe Zhang Jun, spokesperson of the Association, and not the management they work with day and night. Text from the video:
At one of the Walmart store meetings, C10 District Manager snapped at the store employees and said: “I do not know who is in your WeChat group. I only know, I would like to remind you all: what is Zhang Jun of the National (Association)? He is just a colleague whom left the company! Do you believe him? Or do you believe people next to you? I just ask you if you believe the management next to you, or you believe a person you have never met before. Who do you believe? Do you believe in the management you work with every day? Nobody believes, right? You only believe the man (Zhang Jun) whom you never knew.
4. The Association launched three petition letters which workers signed using their real names seeking the assistance of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. One of these letters was signed by nearly a thousand Walmart China shop employees.
5. The Association, through the social media network such as a variety of blogs, WeChat, etc., publicized the status quo and the sudden happenings, in a timely manner to attract society’s concern and media attention.
6. The Association launched a cultural T-shirt activity and Walmart stores employees wore the T-shirt to promote activities such as the campaign against the Integrated Working Hours System and against the pro-management yellow trade union
7, The Association will continue to contact the media, cope with media news coverage, and expand the impact of Walmart employees’ campaign against the Integrated Working Hours System.
8. With its accurate positioning and correct strategy, the Walmart employee activities against the Integrated Working Hours System launched by the Association were not only supported by many Walmart employees but also received no objection from the government.
9. The Association has been actively keeping in touch with the United States Walmart employee rights organizations and both sides have carried out solidarity actions to support each other.
10. The Association provided lots of legal support to the dismissed Walmart employees or those on the brink of dismissal and maximized the protection of their legitimate rights and interests.
11. The Association, through the network platform, also supported the strikes at the Walmart stores across the country by sending red packets/envelopes (cash), etc. to show our solidarity and support.
12. The Association set up a scab list according to information provided by Walmart shop workers. The photos of these scabs and their misdeeds was published on the internet and this effectively curbed their arrogance. Although the official blog of the Association has been blocked 10 times, as a response, the Association has always quickly established new official blogs.
13. Walmart workers activists have maintained contact with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and local trade unions at all levels and sought their assistance. They have also actively lodged complaints to the labor departments at all levels and sought support from them.
14. Because of the lack of financial resources, in order to better support the nationwide Walmart employee actions, the Association not only provided detailed and effective legal support for employees, including preparing documents for litigation (arbitration), strategy and evidence, the Association has also tried hard to raise funds to support those workers having financial difficulty in hiring attorneys for their litigation. At the end of the year, the Association launched an “Easy-to-Raise” fundraising campaign to raise legal fees for Walmart workers. For more information, please visit the link below:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_165118a8b0102wig8.html (Chinese only)
To donate, please visit the following link:
15. From the beginning, the Association stood in a good position: The Association’s two founding members (Zhang Jun and Zhang Liya) were Walmart employees and thus the Association could relatively smoothly and effectively in provide timely and effective support to the Walmart workers.
As a self-help nationwide social media network platform for all Walmart employees, the Association will continue to exist as long as it can and will continue to provide all Walmart workers in the country with the support and help within its capacity. Objectively, there is a need for the Association to be long-standing. The reasons are as follows:
My dear Walmart China colleagues please do not think if you obey or tolerate Walmart’s implementation of the Integrated Working Hours System, Walmart will stop further crushing and exploiting you. From Walmart’s practice in recent years, we’ve already seen some bad examples. First, they integrated the housing subsidy into the basic wage, then the diligent work bonus into the basic wage and now a strong measure to implement the Integrated Working Hours System … Who can guarantee that Walmart will not carry out retaliation against colleagues who participated in the resistance campaign against the Integrated Working Hours System? Who can guarantee that Walmart will not use the Integrated Working Hours System to force us into hourly paid workers?
Below are two examples of Walmart retaliation on workers:
At the end of May when the resistance campaign against the Integrated Working Hours System was about to start, a supervisor at a Walmart store in Xian only mentioned that he would reflect the problem to the trade union. Then in mid-November Walmart retaliated and found an excuse to dismiss him without pay. In another case in Shenyang, due to the boycott of the the Integrated Working Hours System, an employee was closely watched by Walmart during work hours and finally he was caught making a “mistake” and dismissed. Similar cases happened in Wuhan, Nanchong, Dongguan, etc. and ended up with dismissals.
From these examples, Walmart colleagues nationwide should see that this is the consequence of the Integrated Working Hours System not being completely stopped. Originally standard working hours involved a system of of a regular five day work week and an eight hour day. This has started to become “erratic” in Shanghai and other cities. From now on, we have lost the predictable standard working hours system and we are forced to accept the further squeeze and exploitation by Walmart because the characteristics of the Integrated Working Hours System means you no longer dare to express your views.
To conclude, the Association will exist as long as we can and continue to provide assistance and support to all Walmart colleagues. We welcome Walmart colleagues to keep in touch with the Association and contact the Association in time when they encounter Walmart’s infringement of their rights. (The Association’s WeChat public account is being processed and will be announced later).
The Association welcomes Walmart colleagues from all over the country to continue to keep in touch with the Association as always and to meet the next big challenges ahead together……
Zhang Jun, spokesperson of the Walmart China Employees’ Association
(This English version was translated by Globalization Monitor, lastest update on 9th Jan 2017)