Wal-Mart and Ernst & Young Cut China Staff

Foreign firms in China are responding to the economic crisis by reducing staff or cutting down their hours and pay. Wal-Mart is cuttng out one layer of management in an effort to reduce costs. From Reuters:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s (WMT.N) China unit will eliminate one management layer of its stores in China to improve efficiency, affecting up to 1,400 people, the company said on Wednesday.

The U.S. retailer, which has 147 outlets in China and employs over 50,000, will offer affected employees the option to move to new stores or take other positions with lower salaries, said Jonathan Dong, a spokesman at Wal-Mart (China) Investment Co Ltd.

Reuters also reports that accounting firm Ernst and Young is asking China-based staff to take a low-paid leave:

The firm has launched a human resources initiative to encourage its staff in China to take 40 days of low-pay leave between July 2009 and June 2010, according to an emailed statement from Ernst & Young in response to Reuters inquiry.

Those who agree to participate in the programme can get 20 percent of their usual salary while retaining all of the benefits of a full-time employee, the firm said in the statement.

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