A large group of depressed workers has recently stomped into the headquarters of Chinese electronics retailer GOME to seek months of unpaid salaries.
GOME, once China’s top electronics retailer above Alibaba, Suning.com, and JD.com, filed for bankruptcy on December 1 as it became insolvent to millions of dollars to its suppliers.
According to Mobile China, the workers flooded founder Huang Guangyu ‘s office on the 36th floor of Pengrun Building and wouldn’t leave until eight hours later. They demanded their missing monthly payments since September, including half-year bonuses, performance bonuses, and the provident fund after May.
Reportedly, Huang later appeared at the scene and insulted the employees for being “shameless,” which ignited a scuffle between the crowd and the security guards. However, an employee from the GOME building dismissed the rumor as he talked to Red Star Capital Bureau on December 7.
The person, identified shortly as Wang, said company founder Huang never showed up, but confirmed some conflicts had broken out. He continued that the struggle for delayed salary extended between December 5 and 6. Some determined workers even spent two nights sleeping at the building.
Wang believed more than 200 workers were present on December 6.
According to a now-deleted footage of the incident, GOME vice president Wei Qiuli told the angry workers that the company couldn’t pay their salaries because they had no cash flow.
Wei said, “How can the company pay you back when it is not doing well?”
China’s rising star GOME began to flounder after founder Huang was sent to prison in 2010 over insider trading charges. He was released early in 2020 for good behavior.
As the Financial Times reported in August, GOME has experienced losses for five years running and finished 2021 with a 4.4 billion yuan ($642 million) deficit and the equivalent amount in cash. Rumors of suspended staff pay had already circulated at the time.