2017-01-18 09:53:52

Angry workers at Oracle’s China operations say the decision to slash jobs there is an attempt to appease U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

An image of a giant red banner with white Chinese characters circulating on social media reads: “Moving the labor force to please Trump! We are against Oracle discrimination against Chinese workers by cold-bloodedly cutting jobs ahead of the new year.”

An undated photo of a red banner on an office wall reads “Transfer labor for pleasing Trump.” From Weibo

An undated photo of a red banner on an office wall reads “Transfer labor for pleasing Trump.” From Weibo

By the end of March, at least 170 employees will be dismissed. Oracle officially entered the Chinese market in 1989, and it currently has more than 5,000 employees at locations throughout the country.

Spring Festival is considered a special and important time of year for Chinese people, many of whom take advantage of the weeklong holiday period to visit their families and celebrate the lunar new year.

Sixth Tone could not immediately verify the authenticity of the banner, but one employee affected by the job cut told Sixth Tone via text message that the banner had been hung up by laid-off employees in Oracle’s Beijing office.

Another Oracle employee told Sixth Tone that though he had not seen the banner himself, a photo of it had been widely shared by his colleagues on messaging app WeChat. Both employees would not reveal their names for fear of professional repercussions.

In an email sent to employees on Saturday and seen by Sixth Tone, Oracle’s headquarters in the United States explained that the layoffs were due to “massive changes in the overall IT marketplace” and “refocusing more R&D efforts on cloud computing.” The email said staff cuts were also slated in other countries, including the U.S., India, Russia, the U.K., Norway, and Ireland.

Oracle could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday. An employee at Edelman, the PR firm that represents the company in China, told Sixth Tone that they had not been authorized by Oracle to comment on the issue.

Trump, who will be inaugurated on Friday, repeatedly pledged during his election campaign to bring overseas jobs back to the U.S. Several large American businesses, including the Ford Motor Company, have recently announced plans to add production capacity in the U.S., although few have attributed their decisions to the incoming president’s planned policies.

Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle, is a supporter of Donald Trump. In December, she joined the president-elect’s transition team, which is tasked with laying the groundwork for the Trump administration.

One of the Oracle employees who spoke with Sixth Tone on Wednesday said that the company had not yet provided an official compensation plan to the laid-off employees, although negotiations had taken place.

He went on to call the timing of the layoffs “dishonest,” explaining that finding a new job will be especially difficult since Spring Festival is a time when many people look for work.

The other employee agreed that the company laying off people before the new year was “nasty” and added that he believes Oracle won’t be the last big business to cut jobs overseas. “I fear that this is just the beginning,” he said.

(Header image: An exterior view of the Oracle corporate headquarters in Redwood City, California, March 14, 2016. Bloomberg/Getty Images/VCG)