Chapter 108: Collective Strike
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
A collective strike?
Xiao Luo knitted his eyebrows slightly. This wasn’t good news. Striking as soon as he took office implied that the workers were already against him.
“I’ll go and take a look.”
He stood up and walked toward the factory, following Xu Guansong’s lead.
Soon after, everyone in the conference hall was informed of the strike.
“Let’s go and see.”
Chu Yunxiong was intrigued. Luo’s Workshop was presenting Xiao Luo with a tough task as soon as he took office. He wanted to see how Xiao Luo would handle the issue, so he tagged along with Ge Zhongtian.
At the same time, the various department heads as well the store managers swarmed the factory.
When Xiao Luo reached the shipping terminal, there were more than 500 protesters gathered. These were all frontline workers, and their protests echoed throughout the colossal plant.
The security personnel maintaining order let out a sigh of relief and shouted to the crowd, “Mr. Xiao is here! Tell him whatever you have to say!”
Xiao Luo moved forward with both hands behind his back and looked down at the protesting crowd with his slender, piercing eyes. An unseen pressure slammed down on the hearts of everyone present like a mountain, and voices of the heated protest came to an abrupt halt.
Xu Guansong and the senior personnel were in shock. Even without needing to contend with the strikers below, they were already feeling a considerable amount of pressure. Such invisible stress may be difficult to explain, but it does exist.
Xiao Luo’s eyes swept over everyone, left to right. Then he asked, “Why are you protesting?”
His tone was ambivalent. Nobody could tell whether he was happy or angry.
The workers looked at each other. At last, an unsightly man with a pointy mouth and monkey-like cheeks who was standing at the forefront took a step forward. He said through gritted teeth, “I heard that Luo’s Workshop has a new chairman, so we came here to have a look.”
“Have a look? Fine then. I’m standing here right now. All of you see me, right? Then you are dismissed and may return to your posts. Do not disrupt the company’s normal operations,” Xiao Luo said with an amused smile.
The man with a pointy mouth and monkey-like cheeks sneered. His expression changed as he said, “Tsk! You’re going to dismiss us just like that? Mr. Xiao, each of us has gathered here today because we feel that our efforts are not matched by our benefits. It shouldn’t be too much for us to demand a raise. Am I right, everybody?”
“Yes!” roared five hundred people together with great strength and determination.
“We make hundreds of millions in revenue for the company every year, so why are we given so little? The amount we get is barely enough to satisfy a beggar!” the voices of disharmony sounded once again, and many raised their hands in support.
Chu Yunxiong raised his eyebrows and murmured, “This truly is a tough challenge for our company. Luo’s Workshop’s financial budget is already about to bottom out. Now, with this strike, I feel like we will have even more of a headache.”
Ge Zhongtian echoed, “That’s for sure. These workers are obviously taking advantage of the fire. Why can’t they think about how, if Luo’s Workshop collapses, they will become jobless?”
“This can’t be that straightforward!”
Chu Yunxiong smiled without clarifying his assumption. He had already reminded Xiao Luo a long time ago that still waters ran deep with Luo’s Workshop’s management team. The reasons for the strike could hardly be as simple as what they appeared on the surface.
Avarice’s wage is death. Under someone’s instigation, these well-paid employees with massive bonuses were suddenly flummoxed by a craving for money.
“Shut up!” Lin Chongdong, head of the human resource department, exclaimed in anger. “Are you people even underpaid? Including OTs and performance bonuses, more than half of you earn over 5000 dollars per month. Even the least among you earns about 3500 dollars. The company is now going through a difficult period. Many of our store managers are only receiving a 5000 to 6000 in salary, and you’re actually telling me that you’re underpaid? Do you still have any conscience left whatsoever?”
“Why don’t you talk about those times when they were receiving some 20 to 30 grand? You know, when the company was in a good spot. They are the ones who landed the company in this state, so what does it have to do with us bottom-level workers?”
“Yeah, we’ve been on pins and needles for the company. We work overtime every single day. Why don’t you mention that?”
“Luo’s Workshop is almost empty. We don’t even know if the company will collapse tomorrow. If we don’t ask for more now, then should we only ask for what we deserve when the company is no more?”
The crowd’s anger wasn’t quickly dispelled. They raised their fists in opposition and shouted vehemently.
Unable to best the crowd with his words, Lin Chongdong’s face swelled in red, and his body trembled with rage.
Xiao Luo felt a little pissed off and a little amused. These people were probably slaves who rode on their masters’ heads during ancient times.
He waved his hands and said faintly, “Since you’ve already said that, may I ask all of you a few questions?”
Upon witnessing their new young chairman’s politeness, many of them instantly felt a surge of courage. They felt that they didn’t have to fear this newcomer to the business world even though he had only just entered society and had little experience.
“Since Mr. Xiao is so nice to us, let’s not be too harsh on him, okay?” the man with a pointy mouth and monkey-like cheeks shouted to the crowd. Evidently, he was the leader of the strike.
“Yeah!” the crowd echoed.
Xiao Luo looked at the man and asked, “What is your role? How much are your base salary and monthly bonus?”
Under these circumstances, the man didn’t lie. He answered truthfully, “I’m the leader of a small team. I earn a 3500 base salary with a 2000 monthly bonus. With OTs, I earn an average of 6500 per month. It’s money that I earn with my blood and sweat. Do you have any problems with that, Mr. Xiao?”
“Nothing. I’m just curious.” Then, Xiao Luo crossed his arms and said in a light tone, “Next, can you tell me, what salary and bonuses other people in the same position as you at other factories receive?”
The man’s face turned red instantly. He had worked at other factories before. Even including overtime fees and bonuses, the salary was still far from 6500 dollars. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have stayed at Luo’s Workshop and worked so hard to become a team leader.
He spoke again after quite some time, “I don’t know about other factories, but I know about Taste Buds. People in the same position are earning some five to six hundred dollars more than what we are receiving at Luo’s Workshop.”
Although the man was properly addressing Xiao Luo, he was also utterly disregarding him.
“Oh, so that’s the issue!” Xiao Luo’s response was flat. He turned his eyes to a small employee in the crowd. He pointed at him with his finger and said, “Tell me your position, base salary, and bonus.”
Seeing that everyone had turned to look at him, the man felt nervous all of a sudden. He stammered, “I-I’m a regular employee. My base salary is 2600 dollars. The money I can earn per month comes out to about 4500 dollars.”
“Then, do you know how much other workers in the same position as you at other factories are earning?” Xiao Luo’s eyes were chilling, like a beast staring at its prey.
The man shivered. He dared not look directly into Xiao Luo’s eyes as he replied, “T-the base salary in other factories is about 2200 to 2300. They may or may not have bonuses. What they receive per month should amount to a little bit over 3500.”
“So, does this mean that Luo’s Workshop isn’t actually treating you any worse than employees are treated at any other factory? On the contrary, we are actually paying you much more than the others. Am I correct?” Xiao Luo pressed on.
The man blushed and replied after a long time, “Y…yes…”
“Hu-huh,” Xiao Luo sneered and slammed his hands on the stainless-steel guardrail of the shipping terminal. The massive force left the rail vibrating. He stared at the employee below, who was still shocked, and questioned him further, “Are the benefits we’re giving you worth less than your efforts?”
Then, he pointed at the crowd in rage and said, “Luo’s Workshop is now in a time of crisis. It’s fine if you don’t want to go through this with us, but why are you adding insult to injury? You claim that Luo’s Workshop is going to close down soon. In which case, I would like to ask you all: since you feel like the company is about to collapse, why aren’t you guys leaving? Why are all of you still here? As humans, learn to be content and grateful!”
His words reverberated in the hearts of many of the employees, making them feel ashamed and embarrassed. In fact, many of their hearts were still with Luo’s Workshop. They’d only come to make a scene because someone had instigated them into doing so.