Tensions in Sino-African labour relations: the view from the Karuma hydroelectric dam in Uganda
Robert Wyrod et Kimberlee Chang
Journal of Modern African Studies, 61(4), 2023, p. 583-604

Over the last decade China has become a dominant player in Africa’s rapidly growing hydropower sector. These mega projects typically employ thousands of Africans yet research on labour relations at these sites remains extremely limited. This article provides a rare systematic analysis of workers’ experiences on a Chinese-financed-andconstructed hydroelectric dam in Africa. We find that chronic verbal abuse of African workers by Chinese managers is a defining feature of labour relations at this project in Uganda. This abuse has tainted many workers’ attitudes towards the Chinese contractor Sinohydro, the Chinese government, and to a lesser extent Chinese people themselves. Workers also perceive Ugandan organisations and the Ugandan government as complicit in these poor labour relations. These findings underscore the limits of accountability to labour standards by Chinese firms operating in Africa, especially in contexts where host organisations and governments fail to advocate aggressively for the rights of African workers.

Lire à https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X23000186