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March 1, 2011

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Best Buy veteran staff unhappy with pay-off

ZHENG Hanbo walked into Best Buy's Shanghai headquarters yesterday to sign his termination contract with the company.

The 26-year-old former employee with the electrical retail giant found there were few ex-colleagues waiting and it took just 20 minutes for him to complete all the paperwork.

Last week, more than 1,500 employees lost their jobs after United States chain Best Buy closed its nine outlets in China, including six in Shanghai.

Best Buy reported that by yesterday 95 percent of its employees had signed their termination contracts.

"Most of my colleagues signed on the day we were informed of our unemployment because the terms were good," said Zheng.

New starter Zheng, although he had only worked a single day at the Zhongshan Park store, received 14,000 yuan (US$2,130) as his pay-off from Best Buy.

But some senior employees were bitter about the way they had been treated. Wang Junpei, who had worked at Best Buy for five years, and whose wife was also an employee, said freshmen received better terms.

"My wife and I devoted the best years of our lives to Best Buy and our baby will be born this year," said Wang. "Loyalty used to be highly valued in the company, but now we are betrayed."

Under the Best Buy compensation plan, employees who signed the termination contract received "N+5" months' salary, where N is the number of years worked. Those who did not sign are entitled to "N+1" months' pay.


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