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He shared his personal experience from doing business in Kenya. "Comply with the local law, put people first and share the fruits of the results with your local partner" was the essence of his presentation.
10 years ago, the employer and business organisations from Norway (NHO) and China (CEC) started a unique cooperation. We wanted to assist our sisterorganisations in East Africa to reach out to the growing Chinese business community to do responsible business.
Together we have established a platform for dialogue. The partnership has delivered training on labour issues responding to the challenges the Chinese enterprises meet in East Africa. Company visits are also part of the program.
Through the dialogue the employer's organisations also help building trust and confidence between the Chinese business community and the local government and community.
Sustainable and profitable business requires stable labour relations. The understanding and compliance to local conditions, is a precondition in the creation of harmonious relations at the workplace and for doing responsible business.
In order to assist the Chinese companies, it is important for the African employer's organisations to understand the background of Chinese business culture and working-life. Last week representatives from the sisterorganisations from Norway, China, Tanzania and Kenya met in Guangzhou.
Guangzhou is for many African traders and business people the gate to China. Visiting the markets gives valuable understanding and experiences how the trade works. The delegation was introduced to the development of the trade between Africa and China and how the business has been more regulated and formalised. Increasing the quality and reputation of Chinese goods, but also ensuring better social insurance and labour condition. The trade has over the years seen the development from focus on textile and shoes to hardware and technology.
Guangzhou Provincial CEC organised visits for the delegation to several companies in Guangdong province. One of the visits was to the Highsun Group. The company is involved in financial services, insurance, entertainment and real estates and is one of the top 100 companies in Guangdong province. The company had received several recognitions and awards for their work in Human Resources, which was introduced to the delegation. Making sure that all their workers are happy, is a top priority for the company.
Labour relation issues and conflict solving was discussed with the local Chinese tripartite mechanism. Experience with Collective Bargaining in China was introduced and explained by the representative from the local trade union.
Representatives from 60 Chinese enterprises were invite for a workshop. Lawyers from the organisations in Tanzania and Kenya introduced labour relations in East Africa and gave valuable advice for the companies regarding labour laws. As much as Guangzhou is the gate to China for African traders, Kenya is the main entrance to East Africa for many Chinese businesses.