Cartier employees slam salary cut as coerced voluntary resignation

As the local retail and services sectors are gradually recovering, Cartier stores in Hong Kong recently ordered their frontline employees to sign new contracts where their salaries were cut by 30 percent. Employees saw the arrangement as a kind of voluntary separation pressure being put on them.

It was understood that the base salary for the frontline employees was HK$15,000 a month in the new contract. The company is also switching the current commission system from group commission to an individual commission of up to HK$5,000 monthly. This means that the total monthly salary is only about HK$20,000.

An employee of Cartier nicknamed ‘Ching’ bluntly said the current salary is the lowest among all of the city’s high-end brands’ salespeople.

Ching said that they were all asked back to the stores to sign new contracts. They weren’t allowed to take the contract home or photograph it. Ching also added that they only had a few days to decide whether they wanted to sign the contract or not.

He said the employees who didn’t accept the new conditions would be regarded as having resigned voluntarily. Among the 20 branches, 70 percent of the employees didn’t sign the new contract.

Moreover, Cartier only paid 1.5 months’ worth of severance pay to the employees who resigned.

The Federation Trade Union of Hong Kong claimed it received no request for assistance.