Chinese Tech Workers In 996.ICU Fight Get Support From Microsoft Staff In Latest Petition

Chinese Tech Workers In 996.ICU Fight Get Support From Microsoft Staff In Latest Petition
Credit: The Verge

Tech workers who are opposing the grueling work hours are now starting to come together to deliver their message. The workers at Microsoft recently started a petition to rally behind the Chinese workers who initiated the 996.ICU repository.

The Microsoft employees expressed their concern that the Github initiative might face Chinese censorship.

The 996.ICU repository stands for the “unofficial work schedule” where workers report from 9 am to 9 pm. The number 6 refers to the number of days they have to work, which could land workers in an ICU.

The philosophy of the 996 working hours was even endorsed by a famous Chinese entrepreneur, Jack Ma.

According to the repository, the 996.ICU is “not a political movement. ” It aims to resonate the call for companies to respect for the employees’ rights and comply with labor laws. The labor laws limit workers to perform their duties to 40 hours a week.

It also caps the overtime clock at 36 hours in a month at maximum. The repository also offers a lot of resources for affected employees who are struggling to cope with overworking.

But a report on the Guardian showed that companies like Tencent responded to the repository by restricting workers’ access. Alibaba also did the same. The two companies were mentioned in the list.

According to the petition, the recent incident shows a possibility of pressuring Microsoft and GitHub to scrap the repository. Microsoft owns GitHub, and it has a say on whether the said repository will stay or not. But the owners of the web browsers who restricted access to the repository are tech giants, too.

Tencent is touted as the world’s largest gaming company. It owns the Riot Games which developed League of Legends. It also has stakes in Activision Blizzard, Paradox, Ubisoft, and Epic Games.

A report in The Verge said that the repository cannot be blocked alone at the network level. Since GitHub hosts the 996.ICU repository, a company can block it by blocking GitHub itself. But this would be problematic for software developers in China.

The petition airs out the Microsoft employees expression of solidarity to Chinese tech workers. The employees said they believe that the issue goes beyond geographical borders and permeates across “the industry.”

The petitioners also stressed that the problem of pitting workers against each other already happened in history. It called on all employees to come together and ensure that there is just working conditions for workers worldwide.