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Service staff at 'Chinese Hollywood' no longer idle despite epidemic

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-17 14:45
Visitors interact with actors in Hengdian, a major film and television program production center in the city of Dongyang, Zhejiang province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, service workers at Hengdian, a major film and television program production center in the city of Dongyang, Zhejiang province, had an unexpectedly quiet Spring Festival holiday.

As most film and teleplay crews suspended shooting, and Hengdian World Studios stopped accepting tourists, service staff began to realize that it was even more "laborious" to idle away time than working around the clock.

Many of them are from out of town and decided to stay to cash in on the traditional high season. However, sources of income suddenly seemed distant, and returning home has also become not so tempting as traveling is much more difficult during the epidemic.

Meanwhile, Hengdian Group DMEGC Magnetics, a local high-tech enterprise manufacturing magnetic materials and other devices, faced the difficulty of labor shortages as many of its employees could not return on time due to temporary traffic bans in their hometowns to curb the spread of the virus.

But the company's assembly lines, which were scheduled to resume operation from Feb 10, cannot wait. The delay would cause serious losses.

Apeloa Pharmaceutical and other major companies also faced the same problem.

Spontaneously, the companies laid their eyes on the idle employees of Hengdian World Studios and reached out.

Starting from Valentine's Day on Feb. 14, Zhang Qiao, a ticket checker at Hengdian World Studios, began checking motor products on an assembly line of DMEGC Magnetics.

Many of Zhang's colleagues were offered new jobs such as packaging and pipeline operation after health checks and some trainings on production safety and operation skills.

"We have 'borrowed' 180 employees from Hengdian World Studios to work in our factories," said Chen Yuyan, assistant to the general manager of TOSPO Lighting.

Chen said an employment contract will be signed with each and every "shared employee" to ensure their rights and benefits.

According to incomplete statistics, nearly 2,000 tour guides, restaurant attendants and ticket-checkers had become factory workers thanks to the "sharing employee" scheme in Dongyang as of Feb. 14.

"Sharing employees is a bold and beneficial attempt among enterprises, which gives possibilities for freer allocation of short-term jobs," said Pan Helin, an expert in economics at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, who added that the "self-restructuring" of productivity is a beneficial exploration to minimize impact from the epidemic.

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