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August 23, 2011

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Laid-off website workers to get more pay

A group-buying website settled its dispute with workers it had suddenly laid off, agreeing to pay them two months of salary, plus full wages for August - exactly what the employees were seeking, the workers said yesterday.

Gaopeng, a joint-venture in China with US-based Groupon, on Thursday and Friday informed more than 100 of its Shanghai workforce of between 300 and 400, with no prior warning, that they had lost their jobs and that the compensation would vary from five days' pay to two weeks' pay.

About 60 people negotiated the compensation package with the company. A representative of the laid-off workers said they all accepted the scheme and were satisfied with how the negotiations had gone.

"The management officials behaved politely yesterday, and we are glad that the disputes have been solved," he said.

Discussions about overtime pay, however, continues.

The company itself has not released a formal statement about the layoffs, which it is implementing around the country as at least another 18 offices in China are cutting employees this month.

Ma Jianjun, a local lawyer specializing in labor regulations, said the negotiated solution conforms with China's Labor Contract Law, which says companies must offer at least one-month salary if they fail to inform employees of layoffs at least 30 days in advance.

Many of the laid-off Gaopeng workers are fresh graduates who just started to work last month. Xue was one of them, and he expressed fear about finding a job on short notice as the campus recruitment will soon start and he will have to compete with next year's graduates, he said.

"The company is irresponsible," said Xue who revealed that Gaopeng once told the workers that their salaries were too high to afford.


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