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January 21, 2013

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Labor woes hit deliveries

ONLINE shoppers may have trouble receiving goods they have bought starting next week as many courier firms are hobbled by workers leaving for home for the upcoming Spring Festival.

The delivery squeeze is happening at the same time that online orders are booming for holiday gifts. The problem is so bad that some online stores are shutting down until the end of next month.

While the holiday is some three weeks away, local courier workers are asking to return to their hometowns early to avoid the travel rush, according to an official with a local STO Express branch in Minhang District.

"Since many courier workers have no long term contract with the companies, they can just leave or even quit during the festival," the official said.

A staff member at a courier branch on Gonghexin Road in Zhabei District said 30 percent of its workers have left for home and more are expected to leave by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, online orders are booming for festival gifts and other products. Orders have tripled for some stores at online shopping website

Some online firms are giving up. "Even if many people come to buy, the couriers cannot deliver," a shop owner said.

Some courier firms are raising salaries to hold onto workers. While the average salary for a delivery worker is about 5,000 yuan (US$802) per month, some are paying up to 6,000 yuan with meals, accommodations and insurance.


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