Chinese labor relations in Ghana


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Chinese labor relations in Ghana

  1. 1. Jinghao Lu22nd August, 2012
  2. 2. Categorizing the Chinese in Ghana State-owned enterprise (SOEs) staffs Privately-owned company owners and staffs Independent Traders
  3. 3. Chinese State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) About 20 out of 500 registered companies at the Chinese embassy are SOEs Mostly large-scale business in infrastructure, mining, manufacturing, energy generation, telecom and fishery Relatively high percentage of Chinese staffs Chinese Staffs:  Short-term stay, except for the senior executives  Young in age, mostly  Monthly income between US$1,500 and US$2,500, excluding stipend
  4. 4. Chinese Privately-owned, Small- andMedium-Enterprises(SMEs) Locally registered Entrepreneurs from Hong Kong, Taiwan and lately Mainland China In 2011, 41 manufacturing companies, 25 Chinese restaurants, 8 clinics, 7 fishing companies and 59 trading companies (according to Chinese embassy) Generally law-abiding, localized and experienced …with a long-term plan
  5. 5. Independent Traders Not included in the discussion
  6. 6. Formation of Isolation Level of isolation varies, depending on nature of business and prospective length of stay Concerning safety, competition and salary Reinforcement of isolating living arrangement from the company Language barrier from both sides
  7. 7. From Isolation to Perception of Local Labor Rudimental belief in life meaning and work value Difference in education, skills and learning ability Concept of labor union
  8. 8. From Perception to Treating Local LaborPerception Practice“Productivity is essential; • Discrimination of hiringbut some Ghanaians do • Low wage and welfare (pay as what one deserves)not understand this” • Dislike / disband labor union“Ghanaians are not loyal” • Impatience of training local workers • Using Chinese staffs whenever possible, including employing overstayed Chinese workersDifference language and • Obstacle for Ghanaian to get promotedmanagement culture“Low-skilled workers • Maintaining temporary employment for low-skilledshould be obedient; but jobsGhanaians are not” • Immediate dismissal • Disciplinary measures applied on Ghanaian workers“Ghanaian government • For all the violations above, believing “in the endworkers are corrupt rent- money can solve the problems”seekers”
  9. 9. Ghanaian Workers’ Dilemma Not many alternatives to Chinese employers Ghana Trade Union Congress can only speak on behave of labor unions; but many Chinese SMEs forbid labor unions to be formed Sabotage is a way to release anger Mistrust widens
  10. 10. Trend of Improvement: Localization Chinese SOEs and multinationals are willing to improve labor relations  Trusted Ghanaian workers are good mediators of labor tension  Organization of events to allow more interactions
  11. 11. Trend of Improvement: Ghana Trade UnionCongress (TUC) Improved knowledge about SOEs and their top-down management systems  Participated in think-tank forum and visited Chinese government leaders Creatively inform Chinese employers about labor laws  Maintain relationship with the Chinese Embassy  Lecture for Chinese SOE managers as well as Ghanaian workers  Translate Ghanaian labor laws into Mandarin  Use the Ghanaian lawyers employed by Chinese companies to communicate  Rewarded the Chinese companies which made positive changes with good publicity in the media  Cooperated with the Ghanaian authorities that supervise various projects undertaken by the Chinese  Allowed Chinese companies to learn slowly
  12. 12. Role of Chinese Business Leaders Chinese business associations such as Ghana China Chamber of Commerce (GCCC) play an important role  Publishing annual Ghana Chinese Business Directory  Translating Ghana news into Chinese Increasing influence of GCCC
  13. 13. Road Ahead According to TUC, between 2009 and 2011, Chinese labor practice in Ghana generally improved This trend will continue thanks to organizations such as TUC and GCCC Chinese companies are learning about western business model and labor practice in order to localize Through Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Ghana’s government and civil society increased their knowledge on Chinese business culture Enlarging Ghana’s talent pool is important Confucius Institute is about to be established in Ghana GCCC’s membership is growing Ghanaian media can encourage Chinese labor practice improvement
  14. 14. Question and Comments?Please contact Jinghao Lu ( to obtain the manuscript
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