18 December, 2012
While Wal-Mart stores in over 100 cities in 46 states in the United States, are facing thousands of demonstrators protesting and even striking against low wages, long working hours and labor rights violations in Wal-Mart, Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM ) has learnt that Wal-Mart workers in China are also protesting against their deteriorating labor conditions in recent months through a series of collective actions. Wal-Mart has responded by suppressing the workers and dismissing worker activists, including Wang Shishu. SACOM strongly condemns both Wal-Mart’s hostility to the workers’ legitimate demands and the illegal dismissals.
Since joining a Wal-Mart canteen in Shenzhen in 1996, Wang Shishu, 52, has been a senior employee for 16 years. Over the years, Wang has been keen to promote the labor rights of his fellow Wal-Mart workers. In 2006, Wang was nominated by the workers to stand for the Wal-Mart’s Yuanling Store Trade Union election. Despite Wang got the highest votes in the election, the management refused to recognize him as a union committee member. Since then, Wang has repeatedly complained to the management about the labor abuses such as the undemocratic practices of the trade union and unreasonable pay schemes.
On July 5, 2012, because of dissatisfaction with the pay rise scheme, which would cancel the housing subsidy and the bonus, more than 40 Wal-Mart workers in Shenzhen went on strike at the Shenzhen Distribution Center. Four worker representatives were administratively detained and subsequently dismissed by Wal-Mart.
On July 16, Wang participated in a meeting with the local trade unions and the management. He presented a joint petition with 85 signatures from the full-time staff at Wal-Mart’s Xiangmihu Store. After that meeting, on July 24, Wang was accused of being in “serious violation of the company’s regulations” and was dismissed. However, Wal-Mart failed to specify which rule Wang has broken. As such, Wang’s dismissal is illegal!
At present, Wang is undergoing arbitration for the dismissal. Meanwhile, he keeps marching around the Wal-Mart’s Xianmihu Store with placards like “Protest Against Wal-Mart for Illegal Dismissal”, “Support for Reasonable and Just Demands of Workers” and “Solidarity for Justice”.
SACOM supports the demand for Wang’s reinstatement and condemns Wal-Mart’s retaliation to the collective actions of workers. SACOM demands that Wal-Mart reinstate Wang Shishu, apologize to the strikers, and compensate the workers dismissed in the collective actions. SACOM hereby announces the launch of our investigation on labor practices at Wal-Mart stores in Shenzhen. A report will be published in early 2013. SACOM calls on all concerned citizens to sign the petition to support the Wal-Mart workers like Wang Shishu, and demand Wal-Mart respect the right of collective bargaining of the workers. Please fill in the blanks in the petition webpage here, or send us email with your full name, occupation and supportive message to email@example.com to join our cause by 1 January 2013.
To support Wang’s livelihood amid his rights-defending actions, SACOM hereby launches a micro-fundraising campaign of HKD 50 from each donor in Hong Kong. All of the donations will go directly to Wang Shishu on the 15th of each month from January 2013. Please deposit your donation in the Hang Seng Bank account: 024 -361-9-010725 (account name: SACOM Ltd.) and e-mail a copy of transaction slip with the donor’s name and a brief identity of the donor to firstname.lastname@example.org for specification before 31st March, 2013.
Solidarity with the courageous Wal-Mart workers who strive for their rights!