Chinese workers create spreadsheet to monitor their working hours

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Chinese workers create spreadsheet to monitor their working hours

SHANGHAI Reuters - A campaign calling on workers at Chinese tech companies and other high-profile firms to monitor their working hours on a public web page has gone viral, in the latest backlash against a culture of overtime.

Organised by four anonymous creators who described themselves as recent graduates, the Worker Lives Matter Campaign calls on employees at tech firms to enter their company name, position, and working hours in a spreadsheet posted on GitHub.

As of Thursday morning, more than 4,000 people who registered their work at tech giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Inc., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and ByteDance had reported their details.

Employees have also created separate spreadsheets for specific sectors such as real estate, finance, and foreign companies.

The majority of the entries in the spreadsheet show that while a five-day week is the norm, many workers work 10 to 12 hours a day.

One of the creators said in a post that they hoped the list would be an effective reference tool for workers when choosing jobs.

In another post the team argued that the 996 practice of working 7 days to 7 hours one day was opaque and working hours were often rife at internet firms.

We hope to make a contribution to boycott of '996" and popularization of '955' said one of the creators on Zhihu in a post viewed 6 million times in China by the site Provoked Answers, which is considered a Chinese-only resource. 955 means five days a week 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and ByteDance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Long work hours are a hot topic for China's tech workers and others in the young, white-collar class.

The issue gained first attention in 2019, when tech workers launched a similar online campaign against 996 In recent months, criticism of long hours has gained traction because of a government crackdown on tech companies that has shone a spotlight on their treatment of workers.

This year, companies including TikTok owner ByteDance, the short video platform Kuaishou and food delivery giant Meituan have cut compulsory weekend overtime. In August, China's top court described 996 as illegal.