Posts tagged ‘wal mart stores inc’

11/05/2014

Fired from Walmart, Mrs Wang is now gunning for China’s state labor union | Reuters

When Wang Yafang was fired from her job at a Walmart in southern China in July 2011 for dishonesty, she refused to sign the termination papers and even showed up at work the next day – only to be sent away.

Wang, 38, then sued Walmart Shen Guo Tou Stores Inc, a Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) subsidiary, for wrongful termination, and beat the world’s largest retailer in arbitration and twice in court, winning 48,636 yuan ($7,800) in damages.

Now, she’s aiming at an even bigger target: the state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).

All-China Federation of Trade Unions

All-China Federation of Trade Unions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the three decades since China began reforming its economy, its giant state labor union – with upwards of 280 million members – has sat on the sidelines, rarely intervening on behalf of workers in disputes.

In a bid to help change that, Wang, backed by lawyers who have handled some of China’s highest-profile labor cases, decided to sue the union branch at the Walmart in Shenzhen where she worked for nine years. Unlike the few previous attempts by workers to sue grassroots union branches, courts have heard Wang’s case.

Wang and her team argue that the union endorsed the assessment of her as “dishonest” when she was fired and in doing so damaged her reputation. She wants an apology. The union branch has denied the charges.

Beneath the surface, Wang and her lawyers are leveling a more serious accusation – one echoed by many Chinese workers – that the ACFTU is failing in its role as the protector of worker rights and interests.

The landmark case highlights shifting labor relations in China, where workers increasingly know their rights and are seizing opportunities to challenge the status quo, often in court. Independent unions are banned in China, and the ACFTU is coming under unprecedented pressure to adapt.

Two courts in Shenzhen have already heard Wang’s case since she filed the suit last July, and have ruled against her. This month or next, her lawyers plan to launch a final appeal with the Guangdong superior people’s court.

“Either way, if she wins or loses, it is already extremely meaningful that this case has been brought to trial,” said Shi Zhigang, a former union boss from Nanjing who now acts as a collective bargaining adviser to local union branches.

“It’s an amazing development that the courts have even accepted the case and are using Chinese law to make an assessment and evaluation of the union.”

via Fired from Walmart, Mrs Wang is now gunning for China’s state labor union | Reuters.

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24/10/2013

Wal-Mart to open up to 110 new China stores by 2016 | Reuters

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the world\’s biggest retailer, is expanding its China business as it seeks to raise profitability in a slowing retail sector.

Wal-Mart Stores Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke attends a news conference in Beijing, October 24, 2013. REUTERS-Kim Kyung-Hoon

Wal-Mart will open up to 110 facilities in China between 2014 and 2016, in addition to the 30 it has already opened this year, it said at a press event in Beijing on Thursday.

Wal-Mart has closed 11 stores and is looking to close 15-30 others over the next 18 months, said Greg Foran, chief executive of Wal-Mart China, in what he called part of a rationalization process.

The U.S. company is tackling tough global economic conditions and a fundamental change in China\’s retail sector, as annual sales growth slows and consumers move towards shopping online.

Wal-Mart wants to profit from China\’s changing retail landscape by embracing e-commerce, which is expected to record 32 percent composite annual growth between 2012 and 2015, according to Bain & Co.

via Wal-Mart to open up to 110 new China stores by 2016 | Reuters.

05/05/2013

* ‘Speed money’ puts the brakes on India’s retail growth

Reuters: “Hong-Kong entrepreneur Ramesh Tainwala spent 18 months operating branded clothing retail stores in India before deciding it was impossible to succeed without paying bribes.

Customers exit a V-Mart retail store in New Delhi April 6, 2013. Picture taken April 6, 2013. REUTERS-Adnan Abidi

Tainwala, a 55-year-old expatriate Indian, owns Planet Retail, which held the India franchise rights for U.S. fashion labels Guess and Nautica as well as UK retailers Next and Debenhams. He sold the brands last September to various Indian businesses.

“Right now it’s not possible to do business in India without greasing palms, without paying bribes,” said Tainwala, who is also luggage maker Samsonite’s president for Asia Pacific and West Asia. Tainwala said he himself refused to pay bribes to licensing officials, though that could not be independently confirmed.

India is the next great frontier for global retailers, a $500 billion market growing at 20 percent a year. For now, small shops dominate the sector. Giants from Wal-Mart Stores Inc to IKEA AB have struggled merely for the right to enter, which they finally won last year.

But a daunting array of permits – more than 40 are required for a typical supermarket selling a range of products – force retailers to pay so-called “speed money” through middlemen or local partners to set up shop.

In interviews with middlemen and several retailers, Reuters found the official cost for key licenses is typically accompanied by significant expenses in the form of bribes. The added cost erodes profitability in an industry where margins tend to be razor-thin. It also creates risk for companies by making them complicit in activity that, while commonplace in India and other emerging markets, is nonetheless illegal.

That creates a handicap for foreign operators such as U.S.-based Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, and Britain’s Tesco Plc and Marks and Spencer Plc, which must comply with anti-bribery laws in their home countries even while operating abroad.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson said the company is strengthening its compliance programs, part of a global compliance review that has cost more than $35 million over the last 18 months. IKEA, which is awaiting final approval to enter India, has started assessing the market, a spokeswoman said, adding the group has “zero tolerance” for corruption in any form.”

via Insight: ‘Speed money’ puts the brakes on India’s retail growth | Reuters.

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