back to article Chinese developers rebel against long working hours with crowdsourced tell-all on employers

Chinese software developers have crowdsourced a spreadsheet that dishes the dirt on working conditions at hundreds of employers. Dubbed WorkingTime, the protest aims to offer transparency regarding how many work hours are expected. Many organisations expect 72-hour working weeks - an arrangement dubbed "996" after the 9am to …

  1. IceC0ld

    But China is not a workers' paradise

    It is going to take a generation or three to get to the levels of 'freedom' we in the west take for granted

    China wants it all, and until recently they had the chance to get there, but increased production, goes hand in hand with increased awareness, so making it harder for the CCP to keep things like what the west are doing FOR their workforce a secret, it WILL change, just don't expect to see anything really dramatic until this generation of leaders is dead and buried, and a newer, younger, more 'aware' leadership take their place, China is a massive market, all on its own, but it is NOT large enough to maintain anything like a market leading profile on that market alone.

    They HAVE to sort out the conundrum of the disparity of the present, if they have any chance of being relevant in the future.

    And yes, I AM aware we are not always the best example to point to, but we DO have some freedoms we take for granted, that China's workforce WILL desire / require

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But China is not a workers' paradise

      Totally agreed. decent minimum wage, 5 weeks annual paid leave, fully paid parental leave for both parents, unlimited sick leave, right to join the union of your choice, right to strike, universal health care, just like everyone gets in the West!

      Oh wait, the US aren't part of the West, right? So sorry.

      Also, seriously, every time the Chinese government raises minimum wages, Western companies aren't the last to complain about how it hit their benefits. So "the West" is hardly a uniformly benevolent actor.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: But China is not a workers' paradise

      @IceC0ld

      "It is going to take a generation or three to get to the levels of 'freedom' we in the west take for granted"

      I have been greatly impressed with the transition China has gone through. They should be a point of study through school to show the peasantry of communism and how quickly things can turn around by freeing up markets and global trade. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese gov will be able/willing to make the transition from authoritarian to a more liberal country.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

    I've worked in more than one company where, er, the interviewer's idea of the number of hours worked in did not match the number of hours people really worked.

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

      Recently Goldman Sachs first year bankers were talking about an 80 hour per week cap. Not too much sympathy for bankers, but burn out is a problem in the West.

      Not to mention junior doctors...

      1. Ordinary Donkey

        Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

        Call centers.

        In a UK call center, don't assume anything you hear before you finish your probation is true.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

        China's seeing a "lying flat" movement - somewhat similar to the burnout. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tang_ping

      3. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

        "Recently Goldman Sachs first year bankers were talking about an 80 hour per week cap."

        If I was one of their customers I would now be looking for another service provider. Wouldn't fancy the idea of my account being handled by someone working stupid hours. There is a reason folk like lorry drivers have to stick to limited working hours!

        "Not to mention junior doctors..."

        Another reason to try and stick to a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk you're going to need them :(

      4. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

        "Not to mention junior doctors..."

        I've never understood the reasoning behind making newly graduated doctors work 36-hour shifts and then get a day and a half off. What kind of care can a patient expect if they arrive at an emergency room and have to be treated by a doctor who's had no sleep in over 30 hours? If there really is a shortage of on-call doctors, at least work on a 12-hour-on 12-hour-off schedule for 3 days rather than 36-on 36-off!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I've never understood the reasoning ...

          I really do not know, but I always assumed the reasoning was along the lines of "an overworked junior doctor is - on average - likely to give a better outcome than no doctor at all".

        2. Robert Helpmann??
          Childcatcher

          Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

          I've never understood the reasoning behind making newly graduated doctors work 36-hour shifts...

          IIRC, it started because a doctor running a research hospital stayed up for insane hours and expected everyone else to work the same way. After that, it's all economics. Cheap labor, reduced liability and tradition. It is not done the same way in all countries and those that don't do not have worse medical outcomes on average for having relatively sane working hours for their interns.

        3. david 12

          Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

          "Not to mention junior doctors..."

          Fortunately, critical care is provided by nurses, who are supposed to have regulated hours for just this reason. When you have to worry is when you hear about nurses working double shifts. Because stuff like drugs, meals, and patient checks are supposed to be tightly scheduled, and stuff happens if the nurse is tired.

          Doctors are more self-scheduling, and can take 10 filling out paperwork, coming back to the critical decisions when they feel more alert.

          (Based on reported research rather than personal experience.)

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

      You are aware of GlassDoor right? It is mentioned in the article. It is basically this, but as a website.

      As for Company and Interviewer disparities, well if you're lucky and going in as an engineer or someone with a similar level of experience and kudos, then you can call in the interviewer and your boss and explain that you signed up for what was sold, and either you will stick to what was sold or there needs to be a salary renegotiation.

      Admittedly, if your a graduate, or someone low down the food chain, then your ability to bring this up might be limited, but you should still try to mention it as otherwise your just encouraging. There are usually laws against such behaviour in most sensible jurisdictions, so just mentioning it to HR, can get changes made as they begin shitting themselves about legal consequences.

      Just sucking it up is rarely the right answer...

      1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

        You are aware of GlassDoor right?

        The problem with most of the common review sites is that they allow the businesses quite a degree of curation.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

          And Glassdoor may or may not be available in China.

        2. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

          I just tried to take a look at Glassdoor and it wanted so much information from me about who I am and where I work and how much I make that I cancelled out.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

        "Just sucking it up is rarely the right answer..."

        Depends where you are in the food chain. If you're low enough down (as the majority are), then pointing out that your bosses are treating you like crap has a word - insubordination.

        1. brainwrong

          Re: Perhaps we could have a version of this for the west as well

          "If you're low enough down (as the majority are), then pointing out that your bosses are treating you like crap has a word - insubordination."

          Doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up for yourself. If more people did this then we wouldn't have such a problem with crap jobs in this country. People don't want to rock the boat, but that's exactly what they should be doing.

  3. heyrick Silver badge
    Happy

    This article, then two hours later: Chinese tech minister says he's 'dealt with' 73,000 sites that breached the law.

    Coincidence?

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "996"

    12/6 working goes a long way to explaining why there are so many bugs in software. Nobody is likely to be able to concentrate to the required standard for clean programming under that regime.

  5. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    Sounds a Lot Like the United States

    No mandatory vacation time, no overtime for IT, etc.

    I wish that I did not live in a 3rd world nation.

  6. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Meh

    Sure, Jack

    "[A] job you love enough to spend that much time doing is a 'blessing'."

    True, but how many of us have that? Most of us go to work to support ourselves, our families, our lifestyle, etc. I can't imagine anything I would ever have wanted to do that many hours a week.

  7. martinusher Silver badge

    American startup culture copied by the Chinese

    Another example of Chinese IP theft.

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