On the morning of March 23, 700 employees of Starfish Supermarket in Shaanxi, China gathered in front of the town’s Provincial Hall. They sought restitution for grievances of delayed payment of wages and work cessation by the employer.
Representatives of Starfish Supermarket employees petitioned to officials, explaining the employees’ wage dilemma and requested that the government intervene to resolve an employee layoff.
Shaanxi Starfish Supermarket was founded in 1993. It has 109 stores and more than 2,500 employees. On February 25, without warning the company suddenly closed down the stores. The closing was announced by the Gao Bao Company, which was said to have acquired the Starfish Supermarket. The announcement stipulated that as a temporary measure, the employees were required to be put on leave from the company, without pay. Since then, however, the Gao Bao Company has moved out of Shaanxi Province. The Starfish employees have not received their paychecks dating from February.
The Starfish employee representatives petitioned the officials to intervene with the following issues: that the Gao Bao Company shall compensate employees for wages earned in February and arrange a practical solution for them to be compensated for wages that would have been earned in March, that the company shall provide a clearcut solution for employment, and that employees’ damages be compensated, according to contract and labor regulations.
The employees have worked for the Starfish Supermarket from five to 13 years. The company is still in possession of their employment application deposit, ranging from 500 to1,500 yuan. The employees hope that the labor unions and labor department will function according to law, helping to protect their interests and rights.