A report by Cailian Press reveals that many frontline workers at CATL, a Chinese battery giant, have reported reduced income and no work to do. As a result, some of these workers have opted to resign. The lithium battery industry is experiencing an overall insufficient capacity utilization rate due to lower-than-anticipated demand for new energy vehicles.
In early 2021, CATL received a significant increase in year-end orders. To ensure timely delivery and motivate workers to work during the Spring Festival holiday, the company offered high incentives. A worker from one of CATL’s factories recalled that during the 2021 Spring Festival holiday, workers who chose to stay at the factory could earn approximately 14,000 yuan ($2,033). However, currently, by working eight hours per day for five days a week, their basic salary is just slightly over 4,000 yuan.
As per the 2022 annual report, CATL had over 89,000 production line employees by year-end. Workers commonly express a feeling of “not being busy” lately. This is most evident in their work schedules. Some have transitioned from working 12-hour shifts for 28 days each month to working eight hours daily for five days weekly. Others now work just four days a week, and certain departments offer two or three months off directly.
Frontline workers at CATL have a direct correlation between their income and working hours. The company operates on four different shifts: A shift (normal), B shift (double pay), C shift (holiday), and O shift (rest). If overtime hours decrease, the workers’ income will also decrease.
The substantial decrease in salaries has prompted certain individuals to opt for resignation. An employee who has already resigned stated, “I was earning just a little over 3,000 yuan per month. I didn’t want to wait any longer.” Furthermore, some regular workers who were not willing to leave may also decide to resign due to frequent transfers.
Some workers at CATL are hopeful that the situation may improve in May, looking towards the future. However, an industry analyst has predicted that the lithium battery industry will not reach last year’s peak until the third quarter.