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Wal-Mart China announces employee cuts
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"The plans to establish new retail stores and purchase another chain supermarket Trust-Mart will not be influenced by this high level of redundancy," Huang Jianling, public relations manager for Wal-Mart China, told reporters yesterday.

Huang refused to detail costs of the redundancy and the highest position of dismissed employees. According to regulations, dismissed entry-level employees working in the purchasing departments of foreign-capital retail enterprises such as Wal-Mart receive 2,000(US$268) to 3,000 (US$402)yuan per month, middle management staff 5,000 (US$671)to 8,000 yuan(US$1,073), and senior management staff 12,000(US$1,610) to 15,000 yuan(US$2,012).

Wal-Mart will be required to pay at least 900,000 yuan (US$120,744) for its staff cuts, based on rough estimates.

Wal-Mart's redundancy is not solely aimed at its Chinese employees, but rather part of its larger resources optimization and recombination plan, Huang said. The purchasing departments of Wal-Mart in Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Turkey will be closed and Wal-Mart China is considered for restructuring, based on the plan.

Many people suspect that Wal-Mart's redundancy is aimed at the new Employment Contract Law, which will take effect next year, although Wal-Mart has declared firmly that the staff cuts were made for its significant global purchasing strategies adjustment.

Contracts of labor without fixed terms do not mean permanent employees or secure employment. Considering lawful conditions, there is no basic difference for enterprises to terminate labor contracts with fixed terms and labor contracts without fixed terms; relative departments will work out supporting measures, said Lin Jingqing, Labor Relations Section of Labor and Social Security Department of Guangdong Province.

The activities of evading laws will not be allowed and the loss will outweigh the gain for enterprises with irregularities, said Lin.

( by Yang Xi, November 5, 2007)

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