You’ll remember that in February, Huawei and South Africa’s Department of Labour were feeling a little disagreeable. See, Huawei’s staff complement is made up of 90% foreign nationals. The acceptable maximum, according to South African employment equity regulations, is 40%.
This made the department responsible for this sort of thing understandably miffed. Things were said. Legal action was threatened. But then things cooled down a little, and both parties resolved to settle this matter out of court. That’s exactly what has happened, and it seems like everyone has more or less what they want.
Huawei doing so far?
In a joint statement, both the Department of Employment and Labour and Huawei South Africa said that an agreement is complete. Huawei has offered a plan that will switch its staff loadout to more than 50% South African employees. The plan will take effect over three years and will especially focus on “…designated groups as defined in the Employment Equity Act.”
And, as was hinted when news of out-of-court settlement first showed up, Huawei’s also doing some community service. Totally voluntarily, of course. The labour department and the Chinese tech company will “…collaborate on skilling the unemployed”. The program will run over the same three years as the company’s employment equity compliance program. Part of the development initiative will see folks working as interns at Huawei. The Chinese company will likely use it as a recruiting ground for its local staff, though this isn’t explicitly stated.
“The parties see this as a win-win, as it fosters a public and private partnership that facilitates the transfer of skills, while also addressing the issue of unemployment by creating jobs in the ICT sector,” said Advocate Fikiswa Bede, chief director of statutory and advocacy services at the Department of Employment and Labour.