|Wal-Mart's China restructuring plan falters as unions step in [CFP]
US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. halted a plan to reshuffle its mid-level executives in China after local trade unions stepped in, a law official with the Changchun municipal federation of trade unions said Monday.
"Three mid-level executives came to my office this morning and told me the plan was shelved and they have resumed their work," said Yang Fengzhi, director of the law department of the northeastern city's federation of trade unions.
Mou Mingming, a public relations manager of Wal-Mart, told Xinhua Monday that the company had been communicating with the local trade unions and further explained the plan to the employees in detail.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, on April 10 offered three options to the executives. These included transfers to outlets in other cities, demotions or leaving the company.
The options were offered to 54 managers and officers working under the managers, according to Yang Zhongtian, an officer on the list in Wal-Mart's Linhejie chain store in Changchun, capital city of northeastern Jilin Province. Wal-Mart employed about 1,500 workers in the city.
"The company actually wants us to leave," said Yang Zhongtian, "because few will find the first two options unacceptable." He said the plan might put at least 2,100 mid-level executives like himself out of work.
Mou declined to say how many employees were affected.
"Wal-Mart is a company that is still growing, and we expect experienced executives to work in new stores to guarantee quality service," she said, when after a Xinhua reporter asked whether the decision had any connection to the global downturn.
Yang, 35 and a father of a 9-year-old boy, said he was shocked by the move. He has worked at Wal-Mart for five years and his family depends largely on his monthly salary of 2,000 yuan.
"I simply can't believe it," he said. Earlier in March, Wal-Mart was among the multinational firms that announced it had expansion or hiring plans in China this year.