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“Workers’ Lives Matter” Gains Popularity in China

An online survey “Worker’s Lives Matter!” is gaining popularity in China. It is a collection of the working hours for employees who work for high tech and other well-known companies. The survey is sparking a debate about the so-called “overtime culture” in China.

“Worker’s Lives Matter!” – Workers also need to live was launched by four recent college graduates. They posted a form on GitHub for tech company employees to fill out listing their company’s name, their position, and their daily working hours.

By last Thursday, more than 4,000 people had signed up to share their data. The companies they work for include high-tech Internet companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Tik Tok.
The collected information shows that most businesses require a five-day work week, but employees actually work between 10 and 12 hours a day.

Working long hours has been a hot topic in China’s high-tech companies and in other white-collar jobs. In 2019, tech company employees launched a similar online initiative to bring the 996 model to the public’s attention for the first time. 996 means employees work from 9 in the morning till 9 in the evening, six days a week.

In recent months, criticism of overtime has been growing. The government’s recent crackdown on high-tech companies has also begun to focus on the treatment of their employees. This year, Internet companies such as Tik Tok, Kuaishou and Meituan have begun cutting their mandatory weekend overtime. In August, China’s Supreme Court ruled that the 996 model is illegal.

Source: Deutsche Welle, October 14, 2021