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'Bullying' claim prompts probe of Chinese IT firm

'Bullying' claim prompts probe of Chinese IT firm

Published: 09 Jun 2011 16:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Jun 2011 19:03 GMT+02:00

The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) plans to investigate Chinese company Huawei following claims from Swedish trade union Unionen that the company is not adhering to Swedish employment law.

“The Migration Board takes these issues very seriously and we have a standard routine as to how we deal with them,” Alejandro Firpo, special advisor at the Migration Board, said to The Local.

According to Firpo, the Board has received information from Unionen and will start an investigation into the claims that the Chinese company is mistreating its staff.

The probe comes following reports by Sveriges Radio (SR) that staff working at Huawei's affiliate in Sweden are subjected to publicly humiliation and harassment.

In addition, Chinese workers brought to Sweden under recently revised labour migration laws have reportedly been forced to work 80 hours a week, in violation of Swedish labour standards.

The Migration Board routinely receives reports from both unions and from the general public about firms that may be flouting rules governing the granting of work permits to foreign workers.

“We will now let the company respond to the claims. After that we will judge how to carry on from there. It could lead to no steps being taken against them, if we find that they have done nothing wrong,” Firpo said.

According to Firpo, companies found in violation of employment terms outlined in their applications to the Migration Board, will find it harder to be granted permits to bring foreign workers in the future.

“A company that was found to do that would have lost its credibility,” Firpo told The Local.

Just like any other international company, Huawei must show that they can offer staff working conditions and employment terms in accordance with Swedish employment law to be allowed to bring workers in from abroad.

The company haven’t signed a collective agreement with the union but

Managing Director of Huawei Nordic Office, James Chen, says that the company meets the Swedish conditions.

He told SR that employees who work overtime are given time off in lieu.

“Afterwards they are compensated in the form of free time – to have a rest,” he told SR.

But others claim that the Chinese staff works longer shifts than what is currently allowed in Sweden. And according to Unionen it is not unusual that staff work 80 hour weeks.

“Workers that come here from abroad are not necessarily used to making demands on their employers and they don’t know the rules that apply in this country,” said Kari Andersson of Unionen told The Local on Wednesday.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:46 June 9, 2011 by canuk
how much do you want to bet that absolutely NOTHING happens to them?
20:12 June 9, 2011 by Kenny W
I had to laugh that Migrationsverket will investigate claims of bullying. I worked for the Migrationsverket and experienced first hand how they protect incompetent managers who transform into bullies only because culturally they can't solve conflicts, or deal with their own limitations. I would like to know what law they will apply to the Huawei situation, or if they have the balls to implement. Migrationsverket would be better equipped to teach Huawei how to make the resolution process as complicated as possible to dissuade the staff from making any such complaints in the future. Then they can show Huawei how to bury such breaches of the law so deep that no one can find it.
20:47 June 9, 2011 by wxman
What? The architects of mass murders in the millions abusing their workers? You must be joking.
01:15 June 10, 2011 by testUserName
This is how Made in China is ruling. If China follows western law, business won't move to China anymore. AND I am not defending China. I am just talking about correlation.
08:55 June 10, 2011 by dawn77
I have a relative who works for Huawei in Sweden. They have 30 days vacation each year. They also have the *Klämdag* off during Christmas, Easter and Last week. I think this is much better than my Swedish company (25 days vacation and no *Klämday* off).
09:42 June 10, 2011 by ruimove
30 days is normal in Sweden , some people have 5 weeks off during summer, plus xmas and other time off during the year.

The key in here is that this Chinese company applies different rules to the workers in Sweden based where they are from, that it's a BIG NO-NO, you need to give all the same rights ,maybe they shouldn't be in Sweden but they need some eyes to spy the competition :)

This is well know around Europe with Chinese businesses, before was small ones like shops,restaurants where workers were given Chinese work standards but now we start to see the same behavior in bigger scale, waiting to happen at Volvo.
10:21 June 10, 2011 by Keith #5083
#wxman

Are you talking about American, German, English, French or Chinese companies?
10:56 June 10, 2011 by aaww
"time off in lieu"? hahaha

that Chen guy must have been a bad liar
12:47 June 10, 2011 by Localer
do you know that their offices in Sweden have more Chinese staff then the Swedish staff ? every 3 months new batch of staff from China will come to replace the previous batch, they get free food(breakfast, lunch & dinner), free accommodation, and allowances(salary stay the same like in China). this is how Huawei avoiding paying taxes in Sweden.
16:11 June 11, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Cheap Chinese imported labor. China wants the benefits of doing business in Sweden, but doesn't want to pay it's fair share. African countries allow armies of Chinese workers in to work for Chinese companies because their corrupt leaders are bought off with chump change. Hope Swedish leaders aren't being bought off with multi-cultural pixie dust.
05:35 June 12, 2011 by Icarusty
Sour grapes eh, Marc. Texas not doing well with "American" jobs being outsourced to China? Remember, you invented capitalism pal. Deal with it.
11:34 June 13, 2011 by elain88
This kind of case abused throughout Asian companies. Only boz Huawei is so big a chinese company that the immegration board joined in to investigate. If this happened in small size Swedish company, do u think the immegration board will take time to investigate it?
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