China staff fined for not liking boss's Weibo posts

A close up of a person holding 100-yuan notes Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Workers said that one colleague had been fined 150 yuan ($23; £17) in a month

Employees at a travel company in eastern China have been fined for not commenting on their boss's social media posts, it's reported.

More than 200 members of staff at the business in Jinan were slapped with penalties of 50 yuan each ($7.50; £5.70) under the policy, the official Beijing Youth Daily reports. Workers were told to comment on CEO Zhang Ming's Weibo microblogging account, where he posts a mix of company updates and motivational quotes. Those who didn't were "punished accordingly", marketing manager Zhao Ruxin tells the paper, adding that it was done to improve the work ethic of younger staff.

One unidentified worker tells the paper they were fined without prior warning. Others say they believe the policy violates labour laws, and that fines were also meted out for things like not carrying bags featuring the corporate logo.

But it seems that all publicity is good publicity to Mr Zhang, who wrote a long post saying it's good people now understand the company's corporate culture. He says that while "of course people are not happy to be fined", the business relies on staff to promote it and spur growth.

Weibo users aren't impressed, though. Among more than 4,000 comments on the post, one user writes: "I will tell friends and relatives not to use this travel agency in the future, this is terrible." Many accuse him of vanity, and one comment reads: "If you agree with this boss, you have a warped outlook." But one woman concedes that it did get the company noticed. "I admit, what you cooked up wasn't bad, otherwise I wouldn't have known about your travel firm," she says.

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