Layoffs are generally depressing affairs in the business world, but a recent twist of events has seen employees of loss-making recruitment website ChinaHR.com demanding to be dismissed.
A subsidiary of Monster Worldwide, Inc., ChinaHR.com has reportedly been sold by its New York-based parent company to an unnamed buyer for US$30 million, largely due to the firm’s yearly losses, despite US$243.9 million being invested into it over the past eight years.
Around 54 percent of the 400 staff were given generous severance packages and laid off on Jan. 29, according to Shanghai-based newspaper First Financial Daily.
The packages included a month’s salary for each year the employee had worked at the company, plus a further three months’ salary. Pregnant employees received an additional paycheck for 24 months.
The remaining employees were displeased at being excluded from the compensation scheme, and organized a sit-in protest at the company’s headquarters in Beijing late on Jan. 29, demanding to be laid off and given the same severance packages, First Financial Daily reported.
“We must fight until the end; we demand to be laid off,” a female staff member told the paper.
Many employees were worried about their future at ChinaHR as CEO Luo Bingquan has refused to disclose details of the buyout. “Over 200 employees were laid off in the downsizing. We, the remaining staff, are asking to be laid off as well,” an employee called Li Xiaoming told the Daily, “We do not have any confidence in the company’s direction and future development.”
Another employee surnamed Nan, who has worked there for six years, commented: “Senior managers in several divisions, including human resources, legal services, and finance, have all stepped down voluntarily, and received compensation packages. However, we will be placed under the management of the new owner,” according to the report.
On the evening of Jan. 29, a telephone conference was set up between the disgruntled employees and Monster CEO Sal Iannuzzi with ChinaHR CEO Luo acting as translator, Sina Tech reported.
After hearing their grievances, Iannuzzi promised the remaining employees they would be entitled to the same compensation package if laid off before the end of 2013, plus a one-month salary bonus.
The employees remained unsatisfied, and said they would only stay on if immediately compensated with the same severance packages as the laid-off workers. Iannuzzi said he would respond within 24 hours, the Sina Tech report said.
However, Luo Bingquan had mentioned during the conference that if the planned acquisition was not completed by the end of January, ChinaHR would be unable to stay afloat for the first quarter. Iannuzzi added that Monster would be forced to close ChinaHR if employees continued to refuse the compensation plan he had offered, according to the report.
ChinaHR was founded by Zhang Jiexian in 1997. At its peak, ChinaHR.com was among the top three job websites in China, along with zhaopin.com, and Shanghai-based 51job.com. However, after Monster acquired the company in 2008, ChinaHR’s performance steadily declined, and its ranking in the industry has since fallen to ninth place, according to the China market research firm, iResearch.
Read the original Chinese article.
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