About 500 former employees of two State-owned banks protested in Beijing Monday, claiming they had been misdirected or forced into accepting severance pay and terminating labor contracts about 10 years ago and demanding either reinstatement or more compensation.
The employees of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China Construction Bank (CCB) gathered Monday to protest in front of the two banks' separate headquarters in Beijing.
The majority of protesters at the headquarters were staff laid off during a reform of State-owned commercial banks around 2003. Their employment with ICBC and CCB was terminated after the two banks paid so-called "buyout compensation," which varied depending on length of service, usually amounting to about 4,000 yuan ($652) per year with the company. The average income of the two banks' employees was around 200,000 yuan a year in 2012.
A former employee surnamed Zhao from CCB's branch in Linqing, East China's Shandong Province told the Global Times Monday that he had ended his labor contract with CCB in 2003, but he believes he "was forced or cheated by CCB into doing that."
Zhao started working at a local branch of CCB in 1978. In 2003, he and his colleagues were informed by CCB that if they refused to take the buyout compensation, it would decrease year by year. Eventually, they would lose their jobs with lower or even no compensation, so he took the compensation and left CCB, but it was hard for him to find another job when he was in his 40s.
The Global Times also heard similar stories from several other protesters, all former staff of ICBC or CCB. However, Zhao said the mass firing they were warned of never occurred.
The protesters stressed to the Global Times that they were not contract labor but formal employees of ICBC or CCB before they were laid off.
ICBC told the Global Times that it is paying close attention to the issue and will provide solutions based on related laws and regulations. CCB told news portal sina.com that it terminated labor contracts with the protestors legally.