New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 5: Labour Relations and Ethical Dilemmas of Extractive MNEs in Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia
Gabriel Eweje Introduction This chapter examines the criticisms against multinational enterprises (MNEs) relating to labour issues and labour practices in less developed countries (LDCs). The debate over whether MNEs do or do not contribute to development in LDCs has lasted for years, with divergent ramifications drawn for the macro and micro levels of society. Tensions over pay, expatriate employments as against the locals, negotiation rights and employees’ well-being are evident. While MNEs provide jobs and help improve the standard of living of the underdeveloped countries, they are often blamed for paying local workers less than they pay their counterparts in the home country for comparable work, or that they value the safety of foreigners less than the safety of home country residents. It has also been suggested that the basic human and labour rights have been disregarded for as long as human labour has been employed. That said, it should also be mentioned that extractive MNEs have been providing community development projects (such as clinics; drinking water; roads; schools, and paying teachers to work in rural areas; and building market stalls, to mention but a few), in order to establish a cordial relationship in different communities in the case countries. Mining companies are also improving the health and safety issues related to working in the mining industry in South Africa as well as providing education and training for miners who were marginalized during the apartheid era. These are laudable projects; however, the gesture has not improved the relationship with various...
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