Last month, the Chinese tech companies implemented the idea of long working hours by following the illegal ‘996’ work schedule (from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week). And to this, a GitHub user named “996icu” created a webpage and shared it on GitHub in order to protest against this “996” work culture. The purpose of this initiative is to uphold the labor law and respect the rights and interests of the employees.
And to support this, yesterday, Microsoft and GitHub employees drafted a petition in defence of the GitHub repository which could be under threat of Chinese censorship. The project is an initiative towards making the Chinese tech companies obey the labor laws and the international labor convention. The 996.ICU GitHub project description reads, “By following the ‘996’ work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).”
This initiative has gathered a huge support within China and has received a positive response from over 200,000 GitHub users. And as it goes viral, Chinese domestic browsers by Tencent and Alibaba have restricted access to the 996.ICU repository by showcasing a warning that reads, “The repository contains illegal or malicious content.” Microsoft and GitHub might get pressurized to remove this repository. In the petition, the Microsoft and GitHub employees have requested the company to continue supporting the cause.
The petition reads, “We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders. These same issues permeate across full time and contingent jobs at Microsoft and the industry as a whole. Another reason we must take a stand in solidarity with Chinese workers is that history tells us that multinational companies will pit workers against each other in a race to the bottom as they outsource jobs and take advantage of weak labor standards in the pursuit of profit. We have to come together across national boundaries to ensure just working conditions for everyone around the globe.”
It further reads, “We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone. To other tech workers and industry supporters, we urge you to join us in our support of the 996.ICU movement.”
This initiative is also supported by engineers and project managers from Google, Amazon, Trip Advisor, Facebook and other tech companies.
To know more about the petition, check out the GitHub page.