Controversial new employment policies announced for Oppo staff in Kenya are fueling a larger conversation on the practices of various firms based in the country.
Oppo is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer. It has a significant presence in the Kenyan market and offers a range of popular devices.
Over the past week, it came under sharp scrutiny after an internal memo surfaced informing staff of punitive new rules. Among the policies are docking workers pay for not answering a phone call from a superior during work hours or being 15 minutes late to work.
It will cost an employee Ksh200 for each infraction. The accumulated amount will be deducted from their pay at the end of the month. A section of Oppo employees who spoke to the press have expressed concerns over the rules, considering them uncalled for.
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Interestingly, the memo led to other Kenyans recounting not-so-nice experiences of working at Oppo outlets around the country. Oppo managers are yet to respond to the accusations which have continued to grow since the new rules were highlighted in a Daily Nation article.
Notably, however, several Kenyans defended Oppo arguing that it was within their rights to ensure productivity and compliance with in-house rules.
The news drove debate on exactly how far employers can go to ensure that they get the most out of their workers to accomplish their business objectives.
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Others highlighted the documented unethical practices of some Chinese firms operating in Kenya that have even seen some traders deported. A section of Kenyans urged the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) led by its Secretary General Francis Atwoli to intervene.
Sample various comments from Kenyans on the matter;
I see no problem here at all. Punishment for unexplained lateness or leaving work early? OK in my book. Failure to pick your boss call during working hours? Insubordination in my book. https://t.co/plE6NxiGyj
— nijjo (@nijjo_) April 10, 2022
Reason why you shouldn’t buy an @oppo product. We should make them close shop. https://t.co/3kVr9mlN8z
— D Kiboy 🇰🇪 (@Denkibs) April 10, 2022
Oppo isn’t the first company in the world to have late employees. Second, they have an entire system of opression beyond just lateness.
— Dennis Kioko – Civilised Person (@denniskioko) April 10, 2022
If you not okay with being fined for lateness tafuta kampuni yako please. The problem is with unanswered calls https://t.co/vsRg1KPaNz
— Mureithi (@ChezaKamaWewe) April 11, 2022