British Engineer Accuses Huawei Of Race Discrimination

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A former British employee of Huawei claims he was made redundant because he wasn’t Chinese

Chinese telecoms manufacturer Huawei has denied claims of racial discrimination made by a former British employee.

Customer support engineer Judeson Peter alleges unfair dismissal, breach of contract and discrimination on the grounds of age and race after he was made redundant in May 2009.

“Pre-selected for redundancy”

Peter worked for Huawei from April 2006 until his redundancy and earned £48,000 a year. He told an employment tribunal that he lost his job at the company’s Basingstoke office on the basis that he was British and claims that the company’s HR manager sent an e-mail in April 2009 stating that expat employees were exempt from redundancy.

Peter also claims that 342 workers were moved to the UK during his tenure and that 49 British and non British staff lost their jobs during the same period. This has led him to believe that he was “unfairly pre-selected for redundancy” due to his age and race.

“I believe I could have done these roles. Far more non-Chinese employees have been selected for redundancy than Chinese employees, “said Peter, “With regard to engineers, it should be noted that not a single Chinese engineer has been made redundant, whereas 30 non-Chinese have been.”

Huawei’s Rebuttal

However Tony Cooper, representing Huawei, countered Peter’s argument by saying that Chinese expats were employed by the holding company in China and did not work for the UK-based company.

A statement by Huawei also refuted the allegations, “In 2009 Huawei unfortunately had to make a series of redundancies, resulting in 25 percent of British workers and 32 percent of Chinese employees losing their jobs. “

It continued, “Huawei’s Chinese expat employees are subject to a separate contract and dealt with through a different process. The fact that a higher percentage of Chinese workers than British were made redundant shows that Huawei in no way prioritised Chinese employees.”

Huawei has been slowly increasing its presence in the UK and announced plans to expand its enterprise operations in Western Europe following its failure to make significant inroads in the US.

Earlier this year it announced it had landed a major contract to enhance the 2G network of the UK’s largest mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere and also pledged to invest £50m on transmitters that would allow Londoners to receive signal on the tube.

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