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Appliance giant Gree slammed for delaying millions in bonuses   

格力被指克扣数千万奖金 8万员工被逼强买其产品

2014-04-18 09:59 Ecns.cn
Gree’s President Dong Mingzhu. [File photo]

Gree's President Dong Mingzhu. [File photo]

(ECNS) – Gree Electric Appliances Inc., the world's largest residential air-conditioner manufacturer, is under fire for its poor human resources management.

According to insiders, Gree has delayed the payment of annual employee bonuses for a couple of years, totaling tens of millions of yuan. It's also forcing employees to purchase or help sell Gree products.

A mid-level manager, who requested anonymity, told Times Weekly that the 6 million yuan ($1 million) in annual bonuses for employees in the export department were delayed, and "that's just the tip of the iceberg."

After the 2012 board changes, Gree detained annual bonuses for mid-level managers in 2011 and 2012. When it was finally cashed out in the second half of 2013, the money was less than expected.

Gree also has been holding the special bonuses for mid-level managers in all subsidiaries, branches and manufacturing plants. The total amount of delayed payments could reach tens of millions.

That's a stark contrast to the picture Gree's President Dong Mingzhu tries to paint in public.

Sixty-year-old Dong, Forbes' Asia Power Woman, has declared multiple times in public that Gree sees its people as the most valuable asset. She also said in an interview that she intends to improve employees' welfare and raise their salaries by 10 percent annually. She said the goal is to allow single employees to afford a studio apartment (a one-room apartment) and married ones a two-bedroom apartment.

Under Dong's leadership, Gree has been turning in glamorous financial statements while the overall market for air-conditioners takes a slide.

Gree's 2014 Q1 report shows its net profit hit 2 billion to 2.2 billion yuan ($350 million), a year-on-year increase of 50 to 70 percent. The performance, analysts say, was the result of a sales increase in high-tech products as well as declining management costs.

According to the mid-level manager, in February, Gree lowered many employees' titles to cut their salaries and reduce management costs.

In July 2013, Gree paid out 3 billion yuan ($480 million) in shareholders' dividends, earning the title of "most generous" company.

High-ranking managers were the biggest beneficiaries. Dong got 21.15 million yuan ($3.4 million) in dividends.

However, other employees didn't get their share. Workers are facing a dilemma, as they may lose the unpaid bonuses if they leave, and their wages are not on par with their input if they choose to stay on.

An unnamed employee said he works 12 hours a day and is paid only 3,000 yuan ($500) a month.

An internal email in February revealed that Gree required all employees to purchase or help sell one set of products by the end of 2014, including a refrigerator, an air-conditioner, a water or air-purifier and a water heater.

In a notice to the managerial staff, Gree required each to sell at least 100,000 yuan in products, which would be included in their performance appraisal.

An employee told Times Weekly that before the New Year she received a sack of rice and later found 160 yuan ($26) deducted from her salary.

"It was like mandatory," she said.  

Gree's management style is likely hurting employees' morale.

"We don't get the bonuses we deserve, let alone enjoying Gree's huge profits," the mid-level manager said. "That really hurts our feelings."

By Qian Ruisha


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