Local civic groups have urged the government to get tough on Chinese mining companies which allegedly continue to violate labour laws, including assaulting their employees.
A joint statement issued by the Solidarity Centre, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Domestic Workers’ Association of Zimbabwe, African End Sexual Harassment Initiative, Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers’ Union reads in part:
While Chinese investors have opened up avenues for employment creation, they also brought an increase in labour violations, including physical assault of black labour by Chinese nationals.
Government must obtain binding commitments from Chinese investors to respect human rights, including labour rights, as a condition of any investment agreement and exercise such rights under these agreements to ensure full compliance.
However, in response, the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun said the majority of Chinese employers enjoy good working relations with their Zimbabwean workers. He said:
Most Chinese employers keep good relationships with local workers.
The embassy’s position is clear that all Chinese companies are encouraged to do more for local people and must comply with the laws, regulations, culture and customs of the host country.
Wrongdoers must be held accountable.
China has become one of Africa’s biggest sources of investment, but Chinese nationals have been accused of violating workers’ rights not only in Zimbabwe but across the continent.
More: The Standard