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Hisense employees strike over working conditions

Workers at a Hisense factory

Workers at a Hisense factory in Cape Town are protesting against alleged sweatshop conditions. The Chinese appliance company is accused of locking staff in to make sure they continue working. Employees claim they had to sleep on the factory floor and were stopped from using the toilets. The company says the claims are false and that workers are misrepresenting the true state of events.

Mkhanyiseli Mndandwa (53) said, “people are forced to work overtime and don’t even get paid for it. If you can come into my house you will see that I don’t even have food to support my family. Mndandwa said the toilets were closed in the factory while people were locked up and forced to work beyond their allocated working hours.

Workers at a Hisense factory

Mndandwa has been working at Hisense for four years and says working conditions have become unbearable. The Hisense workers have been on strike since 16 January. Trade union Numsa has now stepped into the fray.

Numsa representative Ivan Solomons said, “labour broker workers were taken in on a Saturday and kept here on Sunday during the day. Apparently, they had given them polony and bread and had to sleep on the floor.

The shocking allegations levelled against the Chinese state-owned company are difficult to prove. Employees at this plant say they’re required to hand in their cellphones before work, making it difficult for them to provide evidence.

In a statement sent to eNCA, Hisense has refuted the claims. They say Numsa members had intimidated contract workers who were then kept at the premises until it was safe to leave.

Sadly, the events playing out in the town of Atlantis flies in the face of a huge project launched in 2013 to uplift and boost the economy in the area and provide much-needed employment opportunities.

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Source: eNCA