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'Bullying' claim prompts probe of Chinese IT firm

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'Bullying' claim prompts probe of Chinese IT firm
16:57 CEST+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.

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