What Labour Law?
Chinese construction companies are invariably accused of understating labour costs for large construction projects, just to win tenders. The same contractors have been cited in court proceedings for failing to employ Namibians. This was most evident in the construction of the Independence Memorial Museum when many Chinese labourers worked on the site with only a handful of Namibians benefitting from the construction phase.
But Ambassador Xin Shunkang addressed this issue last week when he visited the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Hon Immanuel Ngatjizeko, saying that he will urge Chinese companies to respect the labour laws.
Ambassador Shunkang paid a courtesy call to the Minister on Thursday.
According to an official statement from the ministry, the ambassador said that while he encourages joint ventures between Chinese and Namibian businesses, he will urge Chinese companies to “do things according to labour laws”. Ambassador Shunkang said that most of the Chinese companies that violate the provisions of the country’s labour act are mostly private companies. He said Chinese entities in Namibia that are not abiding by the country’s labour laws would be encouraged to effect corrective measures. There are a number of Chinese companies in the country that are state-owned.
The Chinese ambassador said that he would also like to see skills transfers and capacity building of Namibian workers to be improved, indicating that talks are underway to for example come up with training institutions.
On his part, the minister said that he wants to see improved relationship on the labour front especially with relation to Chinese businesses. This he said is premised on the good political relationship between the two countries that has been building momentum over the years.