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Huawei Caught Flouting Labour Rules in South Africa

Despite discussions between the two parties, no compromise has been reached regarding the share of foreign employees in the Huawei workforce (around 90%, according to the South African government). The matter is now before the courts. South African legislation requires a maximum of 40% of foreign employees for firms operating in the country. However, the local subsidiary of the Chinese technology giant did not adhere to this law and the ministry of employment has identified multiple violations of this rule at several levels of management. At the lowest level, the ‘skilled professionals’, that is, 378 non-nationals out of 435 employees (87% of employees), are also foreigners. Further down the scale, 76% of the 181 ‘technically skilled’ employees are from outside the country. At this level, while only one of the ‘technically semi-skilled’ employees is foreign, the government does not specify the required maximum. According to the Department of Labour, which says it worked with the Department of Home Affairs on the matter, Huawei “had obtained a permit in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Regulations, which required it to employ 60% South Africans and 40% foreign nationals”. As a result, the department ‘decided to take the matter to court without further delay’.