BEIJING, April 21 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Inc’s (WMT.N) plan to eliminate jobs at its China unit has met with resistance from the up to 1,400 workers involved, the U.S. retailer said on Tuesday.
The company, which has 147 outlets in China and employs over 50,000, is removing a layer of management in its stores, leaving affected employees the option of taking a lower position with lower pay, said a company spokesman. Wal-Mart is offering the employees the option of moving to a new store, which could be located in another city or another province, said Jonathan Dong, a spokesman at Wal-Mart (China) Investment Co Ltd.
“For some people it is difficult to move,” said Dong.
Dong did not know how many people had accepted the company’s offer, saying only that negotiations had been going on for several months to find a solution.
Wal-Mart dismissed a report in the official China Daily newspaper that labour unions had stepped in on behalf of the employees and forced the retailer to end its restructuring programme.
“We have kept all the unions informed, there is complete transparency,” said Dong. “The bottom line is we want to keep these people.”
Wal-Mart first allowed unions into its Chinese stores in 2006, during a campaign by the ACFTU to expand into foreign multinationals’ previously non-unionised operations on the mainland. ($=6.83 yuan) (Reporting by Kirby Chien; Editing by Nick Macfie)