Nearly two dozen ticked off TikTok employees at the company’s London office have resigned en masse after an executive reportedly said he didn’t think companies should be offering their female employees maternity leave.
Joshua Ma, who leads e-commerce at TikTok Europe for ByteDance – the parent company of the Chinese-owned social media app – told London-based employees this year that as a “capitalist” he “doesn’t ‘didn’t believe’ that companies should offer their employees paid leave after childbirth, reported the Financial Times.
Ma’s comments further alienated staff in London who said ByteDance’s corporate culture, imported from China, clashed with the more forgiving office environments to which workers in the UK are accustomed.
About half of the 40 employees who worked in the e-commerce team known as “TikTok Shop” have left the London office since it opened earlier this year, according to FT.
Others told the publication they were set to quit, while two employees were paid for working conditions, it was reported.
E-commerce workers said they normally had to work more than 12 hours a day, starting early in the morning in order to answer calls with China, according to FT.
“There are people who leave every week, it’s like a game every Monday, we ask who was fired, who quit,” said a person currently employed at the company.
A TikTok spokesperson told the Post that TikTok “has a clear maternity leave policy in the UK” which includes 30 weeks of paid leave during which female workers receive on average 90% of their earnings.
The company also offers nine weeks with statutory maternity pay and an additional 13 weeks of unpaid leave, the spokesperson said.
“We are investigating the alleged statements and actions to determine if there has been a violation of company policies,” the spokesperson told the Post.
Ma reportedly made the comments while visiting TikTok Shop in London – the social media company’s first e-commerce initiative outside of Asia.
TikTok Shop allows brands and influencers to broadcast live on TikTok where they sell products via an on-screen clickable orange shopping cart – much like the QVC shopping channel in the US.
FT reported that TikTok had launched an investigation into Ma’s alleged comments.
A TikTok spokesperson told The Post that workers are sometimes asked to work longer hours to “match customer usage patterns”, although the company says it wants to make this “the exception rather than the norm. “.
London-based employees said the company’s heavy workload was making them sick.
“The culture is really toxic,” a London-based former team manager told FT.
“Relations there are based on fear, not cooperation.”
The former team leader added: “They don’t care about burnout because it’s such a big business, they can just replace you. They rub shoulders with the TikTok brand.
Workers also complained of being forced to achieve “unrealistic targets”. Those who failed to meet company expectations were singled out and reprimanded within the internal communications committee, according to FT.
A TikTok spokesperson told the Post: “TikTok Shop has only been operational in the UK for a few months, and we are rapidly investing in expanding resources, structures and processes to support a positive employee experience. .”
New York Post