Walmart managers get bumper 9.4% pay rise; eBay slashes 9% of its workforce

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Jan 25, 2024

Walmart workers managers to get bumper pay rises

America’s largest private employer, Walmart, has announced it will be offering its managers pay rises of 9.4% -– in a move that will see their incomes rise from $117,000 to $128,000 per year. They will also be eligible for bonuses of up to 200% of base salary, based on individual store sales and profit. The announcement will see Walmart’s 4,700 managers (one for each store), get this rise. But to quell any unrest that this is a top-level perk-only, Walmart has insisted that 75% of its management teams actually started their Walmart careers as hourly workers – and so the rises will be motivational to those workers seeking to climb the career ladder. In announcing the rise to management, Cedric Clark, executive vice president for Walmart US store operations said: “Not only are you responsible for exceeding customer expectations day-in and day-out, each of you is the CEO of a multi-million dollar business.” He added: “You’re the driving force behind the development of our next generation of leaders.” Walmart also announced that planned pay increases going into effect in February will see the US average hourly wage for Walmart’s approximately 1 million hourly workers climb to more than $18.00 — up from $17.50 last year.

eBay announces slashing 9% of its workforce

Online marketplace, eBay, has surprised analysts, by announcing it is to lay off around 9% of its workforce – some 1,000 full-time jobs. Despite reporting profit of $1.3 billion last quarter – which was described as “another quarter of solid results” – Jamie Iannone, eBay’s CEO, said the reason for the cuts was because the company’s “overall headcount and expenses have outpaced the growth of our business.” This suggests it has hired too quickly for the business to be able to support it. In a blog message to staff, Iannone added: “Shortly, we will begin notifying those employees whose roles have been eliminated and [will be] entering into a consultation process in areas where required.” In order to have “space and privacy for these conversations,” Iannone said workers should all work from home on 24th January. Iannone said: “Inflationary pressures and rising interest rates continue to weigh on consumer confidence and pressured demand for discretionary goods.”

Baby company faces criticism over staff parental leave

As a baby/children’s clothing brand, one could argue that it should have known better. But it’s too late now, for Kyte Baby, which has faced a barrage of criticism after the boss at the company refused to allow one employee – ‘Marissa’ –parental leave after her son was hospitalized. Unfortunately for Kyte Baby, its CEO, Ying Liu (pictured above), initially took to TikTok to issue an apology. But more than 2 million views later, the 90-second video drew widespread criticism from viewers for being ‘scripted’ and ‘insincere’. Shortly after posting the first video, Liu posted a second video on TikTok in which she acknowledged that the first apology was “scripted” and “wasn’t sincere.” In the first video (posted on 18th January), she said: “Hey guys, it’s Ying. I wanted to hop on here to sincerely apologize to Marissa for how her parental leave was communicated and handled in the midst of her incredible journey of adoption and starting a family. I have been trying to reach out to her to apologize directly as well.” In the second video, she said it was her that had “vetoed” Marissa’s request to work remotely while her son was in hospital, saying, “I own 100% of that,” she admitted. “When I think back, this was a terrible decision. I was insensitive, selfish and was only focused on the fact that her job had always been done on-site and I did not see the possibility of doing it remotely.” She added: “I think a lot of comments are right. We need to set the example because we are in the baby business. I want to [go] above and beyond in protecting women and giving them the right protection and benefits when they’re having babies.”

Unhappy workers cost US economy $1.9 trillion last year

Disengaged, and disgruntled workers cost US companies an estimated $1.9 trillion in lost productivity during 2023, according to new research released by Gallup. The research finds only one third of Americans now describe themselves as being engaged by their jobs. In addition to this, half are only giving what they describe as minimum effort – a practice that has been dubbed “quiet quitting.” Commenting on the data, Jim Harter, chief scientist for Gallup’s workplace practice said employees want to: “feel like what they do at work connects to something bigger than themselves.” A particular finding of the research was that workers say they have a lack of clarity over their work roles. When employees were better told what their roles were however, role clarity rose to about 80% (up from less than 50%). Harter said: “There’s definitely an expectation among the new workforce to have more of a coaching-manager type who really thinks about their development.” He added: “They’re demanding work to improve their life, not just to be a separate thing.”

Largest strike of university professors begins

In what’s been billed as the largest university faculty strike in the history of America, thousands of professors and lecturers from the California State University system started a walk-out this week, to protest against low wages. The strike, by members of the 29,000 strong California Faculty Association, will last all this week, affecting the lessons of more than 460,000 students. While it’s rare for university faculty to go on strike, Ken Jacobs, co-chair of the University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, suggests staff have been emboldened by the success of the strikes by Hollywood actors and writers and members of the United Automobile Workers last year. Speaking in the New York Times he said: “Given that Cal State is the largest university system in the country, this is a very significant strike. We’re starting off this year looking a lot like last year.” Despite a pay offer of 5%, the striking staff are seeking a 12% rise. However, University leaders said the system already spends 75% of its operating budget on staff compensation and it cannot afford to increase salaries to their proposed level. The union also wants to increase the salary floor for full-time employees to $64,360 from $54,360, and is seeking other changes, including caps on class sizes and an expansion of paid parental leave.

US shop workers fired for buying in-demand merchandise

In case you’ve been hiding in a cave since the start of the New Year, you’ll have missed the latest consumer craze – Target’s pink “quencher” straw-flask, which has seen customers literally fighting to get their hands on them since being launched on January 10th, and which (after selling out), have opportunistic online resellers listing the $50 product for as much as $300 on eBay. But now, it seems, Target is under fire for firing members of its team for personally buying these items. Araceli Bernal, who had worked at Target in Delaware for just under two years, told bought one of the quenchers from a barista at the store who set them aside. But after a two-day internal investigation, she was let go, and several other co-workers were reportedly dismissed as well. Target prohibits employees from using their status as employees “to gain an unfair advantage over guests when it comes to purchasing merchandise,” according to its company handbook. It adds employees cannot buy merchandise or items that are promotional or in high demand.

US workers in Yemen ordered to leave

All US aid workers currently in Yemen have been ordered to leave the country within the next 30 days, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen. Yemen has been hit by US and UK air strikes in recent weeks, in retaliation for attacks by the Houthis on shipping vessels in the Red Sea leading up to the important Suez Canal. The Iran-backed Houthis claim they are targeting ships linked to Israel, however reports suggest projectiles are mistakenly being fired at other non-connected ships, including one containing oil. In a statement, Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The ministry would like to emphasize the necessity of informing all officials and workers who hold American and British citizenship of their preparation to leave the country within a maximum period of 30 days from the date of this determination.” It added: “The ministry also calls upon not to recruit any employees with dual nationalities from those countries mentioned above during this period.” The Houthi movement, which controls large parts of northern and western Yemen, vowed in November 2023 to attack any ships associated with Israel until it halts military actions in the Gaza Strip. This led US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, to announce the creation of a multinational operation to secure navigation in the Red Sea.