Walmart closed down five stores in the US. What\’s new ? This happens all the time – stores are closed and stores are opened. So what ? What is strange is the reason it was done and the manner in which it was done.
Walmart announced to its employees two hours before store closing time on Monday last week that the stores were closing from the next day. The reason stated was plumbing problems !! That is the most unusual reason you might have heard for stores to close.
Walmart has a history of treating its workers, shall we say, a little less generously than most other businesses. But , even by their standards, this closure is curious. One of the stores that was closed was at the forefront of a strike a couple of years ago. The whiff, that this was retaliation against the workers is strong. But the other four stores weren\’t the leaders of the strike – so why these five ? Where the four simply lumped together to deflect the real intention to get at those b%^&*s who dared go on strike ?
Telling people two hours before shift ends that they don\’t have to come tomorrow does not appear to be a humanly good thing to do. But there is no place for human feelings in the business world it seems, at least in Walmart. To be fair Walmart is saying that all employees would be paid two months paid leave when they can apply for jobs in other Walmart stores and that if they didn\’t succeed in two months, the permanent employees would be paid some severance pay.
The ostensible logic for the short notice to employees is that apparently if you give them a longer notice, they would all steal the store blind ! A more \”acceptable\” reason is that they don\’t have to legally do any better. Is this what employee relations in Walmart have come to ?
The stated reason for closure is urgent and pressing plumbing problems that have to be fixed. Really ??? Nobody the city or amongst the employees seem to have heard of the \”ongoing and pervasive\” sewer problems before. No permissions have been sought from city councils for any repairs. Its difficult to believe that the emergency closure of stores is really because the loo is leaking.
Even the most charitable view of the issue has to concede that Walmart could have handled the whole thing better. But this is probably a symptom of the real problem – Walmart management does not rank handling employees with care and concern very highly amongst its business priorities. That\’s a sad commentary on the business world. If one of the largest corporations and employers in the world, treats its employees as impersonally as a pallet of stock, then it is no wonder that they are hated as viciously as they are. The very word corporation has become a four letter word. And by their actions, corporations are doing their very best to justify that tag.
What a stink !