ADDIS ABABA – The Chinese embassy in Addis Ababa called an unprecedented meeting with all Chinese companies operating in Ethiopia last week, following repeated events such as labor issues and accusations involving Chinese companies working in the country. The Chinese embassy in Ethiopia confirmed such a communication had taken place but refused to go into details.
However, according to sources, the embassy went further and warned some of the companies regarding the consequences of their actions in the country.
Sources also confirmed that recent incidents involving the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) that had seven of its employee’s burn to death and dozens severely injured within what is to become the biggest stadium in the country – Adey Ababa Stadium was one of highlights of the discussion in the embassy. This was as a result of a fire that was started from a makeshift dormitory that was ordered to have been taken down on the order of local authorities’ weeks before the accident.
Neither the company officials nor the embassy were willing to confirm that the accident was what prompted the meeting that took place last week.
Nevertheless, Ethiopian workers at the stadium project accuse the contractors of substandard treatment of employees which number about 200 Chinese and 650 local workers. They accused the company of not providing them with adequate gears to do their work and that has resulted in various injuries and falls.
According to the reporter, among the hundreds of workers, there was no one that had a steel toe boots or gloves, while the Chinese workers were in full gear for a construction environment.The company claimed, later rescinded that it provided gloves and shoes to all the local workers.
The Deputy Manager of CSCEC, Zheng Chun Hua, told The Reporter last week of some of the action that company will take forward, including offering jobs to siblings of the deceased and investment on safety and dormitories.