Publicado: Mar, Abril 16, 2019
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

Jack Ma defends the 'blessing' of a 12-hour working day

Jack Ma defends the 'blessing' of a 12-hour working day

Jack Ma, founder of online marketplace Alibaba, defended the company's "996" work schedule - which expects employees to submit to 12-hour shifts between 9am and 9pm during a six-day week.

'Many companies and many people don't have the opportunity to work 996. That's what billionaire Jack Ma demands of his staff at China's biggest e-commerce platform. "I understand these people, and I could have said something that was "correct.' But we don't lack people saying 'correct" things in the world today, what we lack is truthful words that make people think". Some Chinese tech workers took it to GitHub to vent their feelings by creating a new GitHub project dubbed 996.ICU, in which ICU refers to the possibility of ending up in intensive care because of their tough work schedule.

Ma added that companies that thought they could profit by forcing staff to work overtime were "foolish" and doomed to fail.

Users uploaded screenshots of conversations in which they were asked to work late in the evening.

Ma believes that following "996" contributes to the happiness of employees.

The debate has spread across Chinese social media, where many users have criticized the tech industry's work culture as "inhumane". Each company listed is given a number for the type of hours they tend to push, in some cases beyond the 996 work schedule. "Their real needs should be considered".

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Ma was discussing the perceived lack of work-life balance among Chinese high tech workers. We are all screws on top. "The machine can not stop".

Ma's comments come after an opinion piece in Chinese state newspaper the People's Daily on Thursday argued on that 996 violate's the country's labor law.

Ma, a former English teacher, who became one of the founders of "Alibaba" in 1999 and is now one of the richest people in China said that he and his eldest associates in their time also worked overtime.

Last week, a WeChat post attributed to founder Richard Liu Qiangdong, commenting on reports of the online retailer's plan to sack underperformers, said he would not consider "slackers" as his "brothers". "If you want to join Alibaba, you need to be prepared to work 12 hours a day, otherwise why even bother joining".

"If you find a job you like, the 996 problem does not exist; if you're not passionate about it, every minute of going to work is a torment", Ma stressed.

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