Private sector employees in China started an online campaign to protest against China’s extreme 996 Office Culture. Read to know all about the worker lives matter campaign.
What is the 996 Office Culture? Why are people protesting against it?
The 996 Office Culture is a grueling work pace that is unfortunately common in China. Employees usually work from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. The grueling work hours were celebrated by tech billionaires like JackMa of Alibaba and Richard Liu of JD.com. The unreasonable schedule is under high scrutiny- both due to growing concerns on social media and the deaths associated with overtime. Additionally, with President Xi Jinping asking the nation to work towards a ‘common prosperity,’ Chinese authorities increased warnings against employers.
The worker lives matter is a campaign requesting employees across various industries to share more details about their work hours and days. As of Thursday, the spreadsheet has garnered over 4,000 entries. This includes employees working in giant tech corporations like Alibaba, Tencent Holdings, and ByteDance.
More on China’s work culture
“We workers also need to live!” declares the Worker lives matter campaign page on GitHub. The echoes of employees protesting against long working hours are now louder than ever before. In 2019, a Chinese programmer’s group took to GitHub to stop startups from mistreating employees. As a response due to growing pressure, firms like KuaishouTechnology and ByteDance started taking the initial steps to reduce working hours. Additionally, at the start of 2021, they stopped a system where employees can take one day off every fortnight.
Moreover, the 996 Office Culture is gruesome and illegal. As per China’s labor laws, a regular workday is eight hours long. Additionally, employees can only work for a maximum of 44 hours every week. The deaths of employees due to long working hours led to people coming forward and speaking up on the issue.
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