A team of Microsoft employees has come ahead to support Chinese tech workers on the gruelling “996” work culture, writing a plea in defense of a trending GitHub repository being censored in China.
In a written letter about web-hosting service Github, owned by Microsoft, the employees have urged the company to keep “996.ICU” GitHub repository uncensored, reports The Verge on Monday.
The “996.ICU” GitHub repository is a reference of the working hours, which China-based tech workers are showing protest at 9 am to 9 pm and six days in a week. ICU refers to the employees, who work under these grueling hours, ending up eventually in the Intensive Care Unit at hospitals.
The report said that “the “996.ICU” repository was established in March by Chinese tech workers who were protesting extreme overwork.”
Founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma has endorsed the philosophy “996”.
Wide range of local Chinese browsers already has blocked access to “996.ICU”, including Xiaomi, Tencent, Alibaba, and Qihoo 360.
However, Microsoft that own GitHub has yet not blocked the repository.
In the petition, the Microsoft employees wrote: “We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders,” adding that “Another reason we must take a stand in solidarity with Chinese workers is that history tells us that multinational companies will pit workers against each other in a race to the bottom as they outsource jobs and take advantage of weak labour standards in the pursuit of profit.”
They have further asked these Chinese tech companies to abide by local labor laws, which also limits their workers to 40-hours a week.
“We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone,” added the employees.
Since “996.ICU” is hosted on GitHub, the repository are not permitted to block at a network level without blocking the entire site, which is catastrophic to software developers of China.
The report continued that “the ultimate decision of whether to risk China’s GitHub access falls to Microsoft, which so far hasn’t indicated a firm position on the protests.”
Jack Ma has further suggested that Chinese employees should work for 72-hours in a week or 12-hours a day for six days.
He said in a blog post that “If we find things we like, 996 is not a problem. If you don’t like (your work), every minute is torture.”