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It was reported that some 7,000 employees of Huawei Technologies Co were required to resign from and then re-apply for their jobs. This has stirred some controversy in recent weeks.

That the move came just two months before the amended Labor Law takes effect in January raises suspicion that the goal was to evade the extra economic burden the company would have had to shoulder by making permanent employees of those who have been in its employ for a decade or more, as the new law will require.

The Shenzhen-based company said such suspicions were groundless, describing the move as a reform of its management of human resources.

The move does not necessarily constitute a legal offense. And the firm paid compensation to the employees who resigned as required by the Labor Law.

What is worrisome is the possibility that other firms could follow suit in order to shirk the responsibility they are obliged to shoulder for the good of their employees and society.

The amended Labor Law requires employers not to fire veteran employees without adequate reason.

It is natural for enterprises to pursue profit, and in so doing observe a human resources policy aimed at keeping their labor force energetic. But this does not mean such a policy should harm people by keeping young employees and kicking out the old ones.

Companies with vision understand that the dedication and devotion of employees make a difference to their operations. Such feelings are based on a close bond between employees and employers. Money is not the sole element in building this bond. Expedient actions aimed at depriving employees of permanent employment will hurt the feelings of not only veterans, but also young employees.

In addition, employers have no reason to shirk their responsibilities to society. Taking care of veteran employees is a way of relieving the employment burden.

We need to do something to plug the loopholes in the new Labor Law by making detailed explanations about how it is to be enforced so that it will be harder for employers to infringe upon the rights and interests of their employees.

(China Daily November 6, 2007)

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