The article didn't specify what was involved for the workers, in any shift from IBM to Lenovo. Does it mean relocation?
I guess that to be given an option to move over to Lenovo is better than just being given some short-term severance package, no? This same thing happened to me, about 15 years ago, and it was a fairly painless process. No relocation necessary, in my case, and the work environment remained much the same. With IBM having already announced multiple thousands of layoffs all over the world, unless there's something we're not being told, a move over to Lenovo to continue work in the x86 market does not sound bad at all.
It's actually amazing how China is moving on the "industrial evolution" scale. It may be exacerbated by their one child policy, but they seem to be rapidly approaching the same high cost of labor point as Japan and the West. In my opinion, their decision to focus more on their internal economy now, is the correct decision for them. For one thing, because they need to keep their ever more educated work force at home, to become a global economic superpower.
@Bert22306, my understanding was that the consternation was not about having to move, but rather that compensation, while being deemed similar was not the same. We are hitting up against cultural differences here, but from my reading here are some of the areas that workers were probably worried about:
1) The systems around time off.
2) the absense or presence of mandatory overtime.
3) the rate that overtime is paid, if any.
4) the potential for wage delays
5) Housing (since many workers in china are povided dorms)
6) Channels for grievance
7) the length and terms of labor contracts
8) the length of shifts.
In terms of cost, China won't be considered a low-cost location for much longer, if it could be considered that now.
It'd be interesting to know the details of what they are complaining about. Perhaps Lenovo already has a bad reputation in China? Think about the last time this very thing happened... When IBM sold their PC business to Lenovo, all of those workers went through this very thing. That was several years ago and it should be clear how things have faired (or is it fared?) for those workers. I'd guess that IBM's world class benefits and compensation package was a far cry from Lenovo's.
HaileyMck: One item on your list is a huge one and it highlights the differences between labor relations here and there. That item is housing. Everything else on the list seems like standard fare at the banquet of workers and bosses. But housing? Can you imagine going to the table worried about "Channels for Grievence" if the guy on the other side of the table could just say 'Get Out!'?
@selinz, i think the question goes beyond Lenovo's reputation in China to the general reputation of technology companies in the country.Late last year there were strikes in the wake of the Nokia/Microsoft deal and Reuters reported "Lack of trust in employers has often led Chinese workers to balk at takeovers they fear will worsen employment conditions"
In many cases, the complaints are around the organization making quality demands without providing appropriate training. Last year, for example, Foxconn workers walked out over the high quality demands for the iPhone 5 saying they weren't being supported approriate. Similar problems occurred at the Nokia plant
First, I was caught by the carrot and stick analogy. Bonuses for not striking and firing for striking just looks like a soft stick and a hard stick approach. Take it as you like but worse yet, I think seeing the "one child policy" euphemism caused me to have to respond. I believe the term "one child policy" is a marketers name for "forced abortion policy" . As far as the Chinese workers, I wish them all the best in their pursuit of fair employment. We all have to work somewhere.