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Internet "worker" demonstration 996 will repeat the "sweatshop" mistakes?

via:博客园     time:2019/4/21 8:32:21     readed:236

Source: The Economic Observer, Author: Shen contend, Zhangwen Yang, Tian Jin,

On March 26th, a project called “996.ICU” appeared on GitHub, and the domain name on the project page points to a red page: “Work 996. ICU”, this page also comes with a blacklist of Chinese Internet companies that implement the 996 system.

GitHub is a managed platform for open source code and a network community where programmers are concentrated. Most of them are experiencing a system called "“996"; under which they need to go to work at 9am every day. , work at 9 o'clock in the evening, work 6 days a week.

The 996 system accompanied the Chinese technology company to complete the madness for 10 years. However, in 2019, the technology company practitioners finally could not continue to endure, and personally opened a rose red "moderate demonstration".

Opponents come from programmers —— open office, laptop, afternoon coffee, although in the eyes of many people, this group looks very elite, but as China’s economic growth point shifts to high-tech, they It is also gradually recognized as a “worker” on the high-tech industry line with intellectual and professionalism.

At this point, they are no different from the factory workers in the southeastern provinces of China. After experiencing many events in 2010, the latter even began to enjoy reasonable working hours earlier. Coincidentally, in the meantime, these two industries have experienced a drastic change — the changes in the economic situation have made the funds that have previously flooded into the Internet become more rational and less, and many layoffs. It also constantly provokes the emotions of practitioners.

At present, the controversy about 996 has spread from Internet companies to all walks of life. A game of efficiency and cost is continuing in the Chinese economy's territory and is destined to form a new balance point, just like in factories in Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The pipeline workers who work more than 10 hours a day experience —— although the process may be much milder.

“One day, all programmers will change the cultural shirt printed with LOGO company and put on a cultural shirt with 996LOGO. When the boss comes to the office, …… this is not a very powerful spiritual force. ? ”,&##############################################

Moderate “show”

He and his wife Gu Zizhen are “1989.ICU” project early participants. On the afternoon of April 16, the two were interviewed in the room of a hotel in Dongcheng District, Beijing. When asked, “Why should we draft some anti-996 license agreements?”, I silenced for a few seconds and then replied: “I don't agree with how many big companies manage programmers now.”

This is the 22nd day of the “996.ICU” project entering the public view. On March 26th, I saw someone creating a “996.ICU” project on GitHub, which is the Shanghai Information Technology Co., Ltd. The founder of the company is the manager of many programmers and a frequent visitor to GitHub.

Starting on March 27th, in addition to the rising star rating index, he saw other users adding labor laws, job search guides, and even a list of companies implementing the 996 working system, including Huawei and Alibaba. Ants Jinfu, Jingdong, 58 Tongcheng and other dozens of companies.

On the 29th, the participants found that the blacklist and whitelist influence was still limited. For the demonstrations, he and other participants were involved in the discussion. They felt that they could not simply resort to legal aid. After all, big companies are strong parties. Through discussion, they believe that only by setting industry standards and community-specific norms can they form external influence.

“Let's make a license for open source software, based on the global history of open source, and the culture between programmers. This expression can be said to be more clear-cut, as long as the programmer sees it almost,” March 31 That night, he and his wife decided to draft and publish a “Anti-996License” as the core content of the project, which was intended to express the meaning of the company that was included in the 996 list. If you continue this system, then don't use these good open source software anymore.

“The most important thing is that we want to demonstrate in a gentle way to a long-term, silent deterrent to companies that enforce the 996 system,” he said to the Economic Observer.

What they didn't expect was that from April 1st, this license agreement pushed the attention of the project to 996.ICU” to the climax. On the 12th, Ma Yun and Liu Qiangdong voiced 996— — they were black. On the list, the chairman of the company or the chairman of the board of directors, on the 14th, the "People's Daily" issued a statement saying "advocate struggle, does not mean mandatory 996".

“The wind of the event is being changed from fighting for the rights of workers to becoming a collective opposition to the big company 996 system”, which is completely beyond the expectations of the company. A few days later, some foreign media contacted his wife from the real-name information left in the academic journals and asked for an interview.

Do you want to stand up? I was hesitant at first, and in Github, a loose, anonymous community of programmers, they were interviewed by a few real names. At the same time, he and his wife Gu Ziwei are a couple of entrepreneurs after the 90s, and now the company is seeking a new round of financing.

But think of this as a legal and compliant thing, "since it is right, we don't have to hide."

In the past two years, he has discovered some phenomena. Many people are being supervised by managers with over-committed options and equity, and then deducting shares/options at the time of separation and listing. In addition, some people working on the project system have a rhythm. Influenced by the manager's rhythm control, when the manager blindly expands the project and then blindly cancels it, even if he tries to work overtime, he will not get a corresponding return because of his performance.

Temperature & ldquo; turn cold & rdquo;

“Let the manager reduce the labor time without lowering the salary. Is this possible? ”, when I heard the controversy about 996, Lin Jie asked this question. Lin Jie is the CEO of an industrial drone company and has chosen to start a business after working in a large company in a related field. “Entrepreneurs are mostly forced by the economic situation. This is a social reality.” Lin Jie told the Economic Observer that his feelings about the external environment in recent years are: “The financing situation in 2014 and 2015 is relatively good. Well, there was some cold in 2016, and the financing situation has deteriorated since 2017. And in 2018, labor costs have become higher and higher.

“It is a great blessing to be able to do 996. Many companies and many people think that there is no chance for 996.” On April 11th, Ma Yun said in an internal exchange meeting of Ali.

Whether for entrepreneurs or employees themselves, an external environment that has never been experienced before has completely enveloped the industry. “There are actually 6 people out of 30 people who have been unemployed since December of last year.” One day in April, Shen Jia, a consulting management partner, is looking through the resume of job seekers. “In the past, the Internet industry This phenomenon has never been seen before.

Shen Jia’s job has always been to serve Internet and technology companies, and to provide recruitment consulting solutions for HR recruitment needs. He told reporters that the 30 job seekers are almost the backbone of the workplace with more than 10 years of work experience, and some of them are heads of the business department who have been the only one in the past. These recruitment markets are hot pursuits, but they have been waiting for a long time.

Concerned about the news, we can see that the news of layoffs of various Internet companies has been constantly popping up. Compared with the news of sharing bicycles and Internet finance in the price war in the previous period, the contraction of this big company has become even more unprepared.

Shen Jia found that since the second half of last year, some large companies have carried out talent inventory, some management positions have been suspended or some projects have been shelved and staffing has been optimized. “The projects reflected in these large companies are often non-commercialized positions. For example, the recruitment index of the engineering development business has begun to decrease. This wave of posts is mainly based on function and has a greater correlation with project execution.

According to the CVsource data, the scale of fundraising in China's venture capital and private equity investment markets has fallen sharply since 2018. The number of job openings in the Internet industry has seen negative growth for two consecutive quarters since last year. “In retrospect, many projects were relatively rushed at the beginning, and many investments were relatively blind. Some business goals themselves need to be completed in 2 years. Perhaps the company quickly got financing, and the project was required to be implemented half a year ahead of schedule, that is, rely on “ The vigorous development of the miracle set up a large number of employees in advance, and then advocated "996" rd, "wolf and struggle, Shen Jia told the Economic Observer.

In Shen Jia's view, some of the bubbles caused by the pre-recruitment during the barbaric growth stage are subject to readjustment in the downturn of the Internet environment. Therefore, those recruited by the company's optimistic expansion are in a rather bleak situation.

This dramatic environmental change is considered to be one of the important backgrounds of this round of opposition to the 996 sentiment.

“When the industry returns to rationality, the job supply market does not support candidates to find a job that is more generous than the original salary, employees begin to extend their labor rights. In the past, the industry as a whole was optimistic, the investment and financing market was frequent, and entrepreneurs and laborers had a strong stage of growth for the future company. Even if the candidates were asked, “996” would rarely appear to have group exacerbations; The Economic Observer reported.

Technology “Workers”

In the Linjie company, the drone flight control software requires the programmer to write the code. “How much code is written per hour is basically accurately quantified, the workload is dead, so it is necessary to use time to increase the output”, Lin Jie told the Economic Observer.

This work experience is quite similar to the experience of Tian Qing’s fathers.

On Wednesday morning, April 17th, in the staff dormitory of an electronic processing factory in Guangzhou, Tian Qing played games and videotape with colleagues in the dormitory as usual. After he was 95, he entered the factory after graduating from junior high school. Because the factory has a shift system, he will enter the factory at 2 pm on the same day, usually at 11 o'clock.

Tian Qing’s father also worked as a worker in Guangzhou in 2004. He often listened to his father’s words. “At that time, regardless of day and night, all the time, the factory was a piece of black, in the plane, except for eating. It is very common to sit for a dozen hours.

Such high-intensity and high-tension work careers as Tian Qing’s father’s generation of first-line technicians are accompanied by the rapid development of China’s manufacturing industry. In the past three decades, Shenzhen and Guangzhou have mainly relied on export processing and labor-intensive With the rapid development of the industry, a large and young workforce is forming a dividend.

Wang Guangzhou, a researcher at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, presented a report on the labor intensity survey of the working people in Shenzhen in 2009. The sample survey data of 1% population showed that 2005 Among the working population in Shenzhen in the year, 63.4% of men and 54.4% of women in the 15-64 year old work more than 40 hours/week.

Wang Guangzhou recalls that more than a decade ago, in the manufacturing enterprises on the southeast coast, the controversy over the overtime work of the society was also attracting attention.

Until 2010, when Shenzhen Foxconn Group had 11 employee jumps in the middle of the year, causing 9 deaths and 2 serious injuries, these long-standing contradictions in the manufacturing employment relationship and management mechanism became the domestic and foreign public opinion institutes. A topic that is widely concerned and explored.

On April 17, US government official Scott Walker told the Economic Observer that the feeling for 996 is that this phenomenon is more common in the Internet, law, banking, finance and other industries than the blue-collar workers of the past.

Although it is only less than 10 years apart, Tian Qing feels that this is too far away from his life. He now has at least 8 hours of off-hours every day, usually playing games and video games in the dormitory and roommates. He told reporters here. Basically, the system of working eight hours a day, five days a week, “If you want to work overtime, you have to see if you have money, and the factory does not dare to force employees to work overtime”.

Even in the Guangzhou area where Tian Qing lives, having the largest talent market in southern China, it is not easy to recruit a worker. Tian Qing told reporters that the job search information of Guangzhou Electronics Factory was linked to the recruitment agency website. Basically, the telephones of the various factories responsible for recruitment were kept on call for an hour.

New balance point

From Tianqing's staff quarters to more than 1,000 kilometers north, on April 18th, in a rental house in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 26-year-old Chen Xin (pseudonym) lay in bed, with a friend who is also an Internet practitioner on WeChat voice. I chatted like this, “ I didn't lose my enthusiasm for work, you know? It’s my body that really can’t stand this rhythm.” On her bedside, there are various vitamins and melatonin.

This day happens to be Chen Xin’s two-month resignation. Chen Xin was previously an ordinary employee of a private mutual-investment company in Hangzhou. The company was established five years ago and the average age of employees is less than 30 years old. For the company itself and its employees, there is a lot of room for growth —— this also means that all employees need to pour more energy beyond eight hours, and there is no overtime pay.

During his career, when Chen Xin was the busiest, he left the company at 11 o'clock in the evening. Among the 2018 TOP100 Internet companies released by Ai Media Consulting, the total market value of Hangzhou enterprises even surpassed Beijing's ranking in the country. In the past year, the Internet industry contributed more than a quarter of the city's GDP of more than 1 trillion yuan. The operation of such a new type of economy relies on the “workers” of the high-tech industry line with intelligence and expertise represented by programmers.

Against 996?

Chen Xin did not agree with this. On the one hand, because wages are performance-based heroes, the harder they work, the richer they are; on the other hand, she feels that young people want to “spelt”, and her body can also fight. But in the third year, symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, weight loss, and hair loss began to crush her. “More than four years of work, 20 pounds of fat, irregular menstruation, hormonal disorders, anxiety and insomnia, no boyfriend. This is my life. ”

Can this moderate demonstration allow opponents to finally get rid of 996? This is still an uncertain issue, at least in the eyes of some managers, the current 996 system is still difficult to cancel.

Even though the recent 996 dispute continues to ferment, Lin Jie said that from the point of view of the managers and friends around the company, those companies that implement 996 have no plans to cancel. Different people have different positions, but as managers, they are adjusted according to market changes.

“Employees want to make more money. The company wants to reduce the manpower expenditure. The implementation is often that 5 people work for 3 people to work and 4 people's wages (but let everyone pay 25%). This is a game rule. It is also a balance point that can finally be reached between employers and employees. Lin Jie said.


Chen Xin has already reported the IELTS test. She is preparing to leave the city, go abroad for a year, and seek to find a job overseas.

“What happened in China is also happening in the US,” US government official Scott Walker told Economic Watch.

According to historical data provided by the US Embassy, ​​in the 1920s, while industries such as steel, automobiles, rubber, and textiles flourished, these industries also experienced work systems like 996 until 1923, when ordinary American steel was used. Workers still have to work 12 hours a day and take a day off every two weeks.

At that time, the American Labor Union held various activities to fight for the rights of workers, but it was severely suppressed by the company. Later, the outbreak of the Great Depression led to widespread unemployment. In the case of the automobile industry, from 1929 to 1933, workers in the industry were cut in half, while workers' salaries were reduced by two-thirds.

In the past few years, the 996 working system has also begun to appear in the Silicon Valley area of ​​the United States. In the United States, Microsoft has worked for more than two years, Yuntian (a pseudonym), and the US Internet companies are also facing overtime problems. Outside the eight-hour work system, there is a lot of work that needs to work overtime. This situation is borderless. However, their supervisors will realize that if this situation is long-term, it is “unhealthy” and will increase the pressure on employees through enrollment expansion. Therefore, compared to the domestic, we still have our own private life. & rdquo; Yun Tian said.

The action against 996 is still going on, “996.ICU” Anonymous sponsors created chat groups —— programmer-based enterprise communications software on Slack. The base moved from GitHub to Slack, and the reporter joined the group. The 996ICU is the main group and is divided into groups such as declarations, actions, laws, and games. Up to now, there are more than 2,600 users.

From the content displayed by the chat group, including the production of jerseys with 996logo, 996 theme related spoofs, paragraphs, games, such content is still increasing every day.

On April 17th, at 10 o'clock in the US time, Long Yu (pseudonym), a programmer at Amazon.com, accepted an interview with the Economic Observer. Long Yu said that the domestic programmers said that there is no extra at present. The reward of 996 is an angry attitude. As far as he is concerned, the same position can be done at home every Wednesday. “ As long as you have completed your work, you can leave at any time, and there is no fixed requirement.

“You can get the job done more efficiently, why waste unnecessary time?” Long Yu said that he planned to go to rest after the interview. At this point in time, his domestic programmer friends may not have finished his work.

(It should be requested by the interviewee, Lin Zhong, Chen Xin, Yun Tian, ​​Long Yu are all pseudonyms)

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