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Categorizing the Chinese in Ghana State-owned enterprise (SOEs) staffs Privately-owned company owners and staffs Independent Traders
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
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
Independent Traders Not included in the discussion
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
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
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”
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
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
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
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
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
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