Huawei in settlement talks over employing too many foreigners in South Africa

Huawei says it has entered into negotiations with the Department of Employment and Labour to reach a settlement agreement over employment equity violations, hoping to keep the matter out of court.

This comes after the labour department filed court papers against Huawei Technologies South Africa on 11 February 2022 after finding the company was employing approximately 90% foreign nationals, violating the Employment Equity Policy.

According to the labour department, Huawei said it was granted permission by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to employ the number of foreign nationals they do.

But the labour department found that DHA granted Huawei a permit under South Africa’s immigration regulations that required it to employ 60% South Africans and 40% foreign nationals.

The department’s inspection and enforcement services conducted an audit of the company’s workforce in 2020 and found the following:

  • 100% foreign top management — which Huawei intends to keep for the next two years
  • 38% foreign senior management — with plans to increase this number.
  • 87% foreign professionally qualified employees — with plans to increase this number
  • 76% foreign skilled-technical employees— with plans to increase this number
  • 100% foreign semi-skilled employee — with plans to increase this number
Huawei Menlyn Store (2)
The Huawei Menlyn store opening in 2019.

Huawei said in its latest meeting with the labour department concerning the matter, it demonstrated its extensive ICT skills transfer and training programs.

These are aimed at reducing the ICT skills gap and fostering a strong digital talent ecosystem for South Africa to further embrace 5G, Cloud, AI and other 4IR technologies, Huawei said.

“This was acknowledged by the Department of Employment and Labour, who advised Huawei to expand this further in their Employment Equity plan,” the company stated.    

Huawei added it was being “fully cooperative” with the department, and that both sides were positive of a conclusion on the matter.

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Huawei in settlement talks over employing too many foreigners in South Africa