FIRST PER­SON GAO ZHI Ex-em­ploy­ees de­serve fair com­pen­sa­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

Edi­tor’s note: Gao Zhi (an alias), 34, has worked for Wal­Mart for 13 years and at the Changde branch for five years. He would not iden­tify him­self for fear of le­gal dis­putes with Wal-Mart as he signed an agree­ment for com­pen­sa­tion with the com­pany that says he will get pay­ment on the con­di­tion he keep the agree­ment se­cret.

Isigned the com­pen­sa­tion con­tract on March 13 but soon re­gret­ted do­ing so. Now I’m work­ing with our trade union to fight for our rights.

The re­gional hu­man re­sources man­ager in Chang­sha gave me two choices: re­lo­cate to the provin­cial cap­i­tal with­out a pay raise or leave the com­pany with the com­pen­sa­tion they set for us. There was no room for bar­gain­ing.

Rent costs are much higher in Chang­sha than in Changde, and my old­est child would have to be left be­hind for school. So my liv­ing ex­pense would rise con­sid­er­ably if I were to go to work in Chang­sha. It just wouldn’t work out if I wasn’t go­ing to get higher pay.

Leav­ing with the com­pen­sa­tion seemed to be my only choice. From the pro­posed plan, I would get com­pen­sa­tion equal to 14 months of pay. The HR people asked me to make a de­ci­sion im­me­di­ately as they said the com­pen­sa­tion would not be that much if I de­layed.

I felt cheated be­cause Wal­Mart later sent money to the ac­counts of ev­ery em­ployee at the Changde store whether they had ac­cepted their com­pen­sa­tion plan or not.

I’ve been the sole bread­win­ner for my fam­ily with two chil­dren aged 1 and 6, and my wife has no job due to poor health.

Tak­ing the set com­pen­sa­tion and look­ing for an­other job as a sacked Wal-Mart em­ployee has also turned out to be a chal­lenge.

It is dif­fi­cult to find a job as a mid­dle-aged man. I’m ex­pe­ri­enced in sales, but if I ad­mit that I used to work at Wal-Mart, people say, “Oh, you’re from that failed su­per­mar­ket”. It gives people a bad im­pres­sion.

I loved work­ing at Wal­Mart for the steady pay­check. I have com­mit­ted 13 years to their dif­fer­ent stores in Hu­nan and Guang­dong prov­inces, in­clud­ing five years at the Changde out­let. Ba­si­cally, I’ve de­voted the best years of my life to the com­pany.

We em­ploy­ees are not greedy but just want Wal­Mart to give us fairer com­pen­sa­tion, which we de­serve. Gao was talk­ing to China Daily re­porter He Dan.

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