996 Genus | Middle-aged Programmer of Xierqi: Spell or Roll

 996 Genus | Middle-aged Programmer of Xierqi: Spell or Roll

The official website of China Economic Weekly: Economic Web www.ceweekly.cn

Sun Bing, Journalist of China Economic Weekly

The 996.ICU has caught fire at an unexpected rate.

On March 26, a user named 996icu launched a project called 996.ICU on GitHub, which means work 996 (work 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., work 6 days a week) and sick ICU (intensive care unit). The sponsors said they hoped that more and more people would be able to update and upload evidence on the lists of companies with the 996 system. For those companies with the blacklist, they would not allow them to use the open source code and software uploaded by users participating in the project to protest against the overtime system in 1996.

The campaign was quickly responded by a large number of users, and in a short time it received more than 180,000 Star Up (similar praise), almost becoming the fastest project on GitHub. It was revealed that companies that implemented 996 or even more cruel overtime schemes (such as 9106 and 007, i.e., 6 days a week at 9 a.m. and 7 days a week at 10 p.m. and 24 hours a.m.) It quickly approached 100.

Subsequently, the topic of 996 overtime also quickly out of the loop, not only programmers, but also Internet companies, more and more industry enterprises involved, more and more workers began to complain on social networks. Faced with Do you want to accept 996? This soul torture, many peoples answer is: in fact, there is no choice, or fight, or roll.

Hundreds of Enterprises Fall into 996 Storm

Almost none of the well-known Internet and technology companies in China have survived the 996 storm: Huawei, Ali, Ant Golden Clothes, Jingdong, Baidu, Tencent, Millet, 58 Tongcheng, Suning, Tujia Networks, praise, byte beating, spelling more, Dajiang, users, convenient bees... Seeing that Chinese programmers are so hard, many foreign programmers come to help.

Xiao Yi, Chief Photographer of China Economic Weekly

But soon, the relevant pages of the 996.ICU project were blocked by several major mainstream domestic browsers, showing as errors, malicious websites, access was illegally hijacked... This also aroused the sigh of netizens: programmers yesterday for anti-996 project, today will work overtime to block the protest page. Project sponsors also quickly shut down the issues function, although in a very short time, more than 10,000 messages.

Why did 996 suddenly become a burst point screen brush? Wang Xiang, a programmer who calls himself code farmer, told China Economic Weekly: Perhaps the resentment has been deepening recently. Before accepting the interview, Wang Xiang repeatedly advised reporters not to disclose their identity and company. Our Department has beenoptimizedsince the end of last year. It has already laid off about 15% of its staff and is said to be cutting 30% of its staff. I still intend to continue working. Now is not a good time to change my job. Wang Xiang said.

Wang Xiang works in the R&D Department of a first-line Internet company. As a research and development personnel in the field of artificial intelligence, Wang Xiang was once a fragrant baboon. He was dug up by the company at a high salary. However, since last year, with the bad economic environment and the decline of company performance, layoffs are inevitable. The company is sure to reduce costs, but the work is still to be done, so overtime is becoming more and more exaggerated, one person to do two or even three peoples work, but only to pay one and a half peoples wages, which is the most cost-effective. He said.

According to the national overtime data report released before the drip trip, the industry distribution of Top5 overtime degree is the Internet, financial market, cultural media, real estate and education industry; Beijing ranks first in the country in overtime hours, and the legendary Houchangcun (Zhongguancun Software Park, which gathers more than 200 IT Internet companies) is the most serious area of overtime in China; under Beijing working day, the industry distribution of Top5 overtime degree is the Internet, financial market, cultural media, real estate and education industry. Top? 5, the latest company in the class, is Jingdong, Tencent, 58 Tongcheng, Qihu 360 and Di Di himself. The average off time of these companies is after 22:00, even after 23:00.

Master Li is a perennial online taxi driver at the headquarters of Jingdong. He also complains about overtime work in Jingdong. In the past, overtime to 9 oclock can be reimbursed by taxi, but later turned to 9:30, starting in April to 10 oclock. I can only go home late. He told China Economic Weekly.

There is a widely circulated joke: a Chinese Internet company recruited a research and development director from Japan, who said to his colleagues on the first day of work: I am a famous workaholic in Japan, I hope you can keep up with my rhythm. A month later, the Japanese executive resigned, leaving a sentence: Its inhumane for you to work overtime like this.

Voluntary Latent Rules for Overtime

If the employer expressly stipulates the 996 working system, it must be suspected of violating the law. Xu Hao, a partner of Beijing Jingshi Law Firm, told China Economic Weekly.

According to lawyer Xu Hao, according to the relevant provisions of Chinas Labor Law, China implements the system of working hours of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week on average. Owing to the needs of production and operation, the employing unit may extend its working hours after consulting with trade unions and laborers, generally not more than one hour a day. For special reasons requiring extension of working hours, the extension of working hours shall not exceed 3 hours per day, but shall not exceed 36 hours per month under the conditions of ensuring the health of workers.

The 996 working system means 72 hours a week, far beyond the upper limit of the labour law. Moreover, according to the provisions of the Labor Law on overtime pay, under the 996 working system, people should be paid more than twice the current wage. But the reality is, its impossible.

Start-up workers, asleep and still answering the phone (Xiao Yi, Chief Photographer of China Economic Weekly)

Wang Xiang said that in addition to the legal holidays (not counted on Saturdays) there will be overtime pay, daily super standby and weekend overtime has never been overtime pay, because I am voluntary. The premise of calculating overtime pay is overtime arranged by the company, which is also overtime in the legal sense, and employeesvoluntary overtime does not belong to overtime in the legal sense, so it will not be supported and protected by the law.

No company will besillyto mandatory overtime, is to let employeesvoluntaryovertime. Xu Hao said. According to the reporters understanding, overtime is an important indicator of assessment and promotion in many companies. Leaders often encourage or hint at the necessity and importance of overtime.

Although the Labor Law also stipulates that the employing units should strictly implement the standard of labor quota and should not force or disguise workers to work overtime. If an enterprise violates laws and regulations and forces workers to extend their working hours, the workers have the right to refuse. They may report to the labor law enforcement authorities or initiate labor arbitration. However, lawyer Xu Hao also said that the practical operability of labor arbitration is very poor, almost a theoretical reference, unless you do not want to continue working in this enterprise, the key point is to compensate people, otherwise you can only tolerate.

But Wang Xiang said that it was not the most terrible. What was more terrible was that overtime was morally kidnapped: without overtime, there would be no spirit of struggle, which was not in line with the companys values. Many companies even wrote 996 in the recruitment advertisement, which is proud of the corporate culture, the performance of enterprise entrepreneurship, wolf nature and combat effectiveness.

Wang Xiang believes that the reason why most people resent working overtime is not that they have to work too much, but that they often work overtime for the sake of showing their leaders. When overtime becomes the quantitative criterion for judging employees, and even the red line for layoffs, overtime will inevitably turn sour.

Grace has worked for HR in a top 500 foreign-funded company for many years. She told China Economic Weekly that foreign companies generally have little overtime culture. In fact, programmers listed the 996 blacklist on GitHub, but also made a white list of non-overtime work, nine of which are foreign enterprises.

Grace believes that a company requiring 996 means that it manages manual workers. Although programmers seem to be intelligent labor on the surface, in fact, many Chinese science and technology companies are still doing bricks in the technology industry, and a large number of low-level programmers are not doing creative work, so they still need to work hard, hard and hard.

The Concern Behind 996

Changping Line of Xierqi at 10:54 p.m. (Photographed by Xiao Yi, Chief Photographer of China Economic Weekly)

From the Internet giant with a market capitalization of 100 billion to the little-known micro-start-up company, 996 is not news at all, but normal. Earlier, news broke out that many technology companies had cases of sudden death of employees due to long-term overtime overwork. Because in medicine, it is difficult to prove the causal relationship between death from overwork and work. In Chinas legal framework, there is no such thing as death from overwork or work-related injury. Of course, there is no corresponding compensation.

And the shadow of overtime is not only shrouded in the Internet industry, finance, real estate, culture, media, service industry... Even the grass-roots civil servants, considered to be very idle, are suffering from overtime. Eat less than pigs, do more than cows, sleep later than dogs, and get up earlier than chickens. Theres also a reason why a song Feeling the Body Was Hollowed Out became a hit overnight.

Programmers are still complaining about overtime at least with an annual salary of 5.6 million. What about us? Li Rui (not his real name), who works for a cultural communication company, told China Economic Weekly that although he visits upscale hotels all day and is often envied by friends with stars, it is hard for outsiders to know the hardships behind it.

Overwork, of course, wants overpay. Because of the health and life costs of 996, whether there is a reasonable return is the key to this. The furthest distance in the world is between what the boss thinks is enough and what you think is enough. Li Rui said.

Li Rui said that although she and programmers in the world is completely different, but she can understand their anxiety: we are all eating youth meals, our industry and companies can not afford to retire. Middle-aged talents are vulnerable groups in the workplace. They have houses and cars to provide for, parents to support their children, their bodies are turning on red lights, and if they want a higher salary, they can easily be replaced by cheaper young people. Talking about work? Life? Balance requires qualifications.

But what despairs Li Rui and the programmers is that there are fewer and fewer opportunities to work hard and get excessive returns. After the start-up company went public, even the front desk has no story of wealth freedom. She said.

Japan, which left the impression of hard work to the whole world, was also a big overtime worker. Ninety oclock in the evening was the most crowded time for Tokyo Metro. However, sociologist Li Chunling and Japanese writer Sassous research and analysis show that from the sociological point of view, 996 is a failure in Japan. The overworked Japan that once worked hard to make money is closely related to todays low desire Japan.

Young people are frightened by their parents. Seeing that their fathers are so desperate but so old, they simply choose low desire, not to marry, not to have children, not to buy a house. Efforts cant see hope, so its better to play happily. This is the idea of many young Japanese.

996 may be the best choice for individual enterprises, but it is not the best choice for the whole society. But for this reason, workers generally do not have the power to choose.

Text Editor: Zou Songlin

New Media Editor: Liu Yijun

Source: responsible editor of China Economic Weekly: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541