Dismissed workers attacked former colleagues as Chinese online video operator Ku6.com sacked a fifth of its sales team.

In an initial explanation of its move, Ku6.com benignly announced that it wanted to ‘restructure’ its sales department and that the move was necessary to simplify operations, control costs, and improve efficiency. The online video company saw net losses increase to $15.42 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 year from $10.6 million a year earlier. The company plans to complete the restructuring within two weeks.

Ku6 also says that it will maintain a smaller but more efficient sales team after the restructuring, and it will take various measures to increase its sales performance. These measures are said include outsourcing its sales of advertising to third-party advertising companies and exploring more effective sales channels.

However, according to reports in The Shanghai Daily, staff in the city’s sales offices did not take the announcement lying down, attacking former colleagues after the bad news was given to them. The Shanghai Daily also reported that former VPs Hao Zhizhong and Zeng Xinghua were dismissed after they refused to sack members of the sales team as they were not satisfied with the deal offered to those who were due for the axe. Hao was said to have written on his blog that what Ku6 did was "foolish and mean and devastating to the company...More than 30 sales officials were forced to sign dismissal agreements before they could leave the company."

In a reply to the Shanghai Daily, Ku6 said that the restructuring of its sales team was normal practice in the face of huge net losses and the process of dismissing its former employers was reasonable.

In a further embarrassment for Ku6.com, arch rival Tudou is said to have uploaded to its online video service a video clip of the brawl.