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Tales of Hope, Tastes of BitternessChinese Road Builders in Ethiopia$
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Miriam Driessen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528042

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528042.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Entangled in Lawsuits

Entangled in Lawsuits

(p.132) 6 Entangled in Lawsuits
Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness

Miriam Driessen

Hong Kong University Press

In the courtroom, Ethiopian workers have proved even more successful in challenging Chinese management and the power hierarchies that lend them authority. To the consternation of their Chinese employers, the damages awarded to Ethiopian laborers in the courts keep rising. The wereda courts, the lowest-level state courts in Ethiopia, have come to play a principal role in negotiating the employment conditions of Ethiopian laborers. Judges make Ethiopian workers aware of their rights and remind Chinese employers of their obligations regarding contractual procedures, wage levels, and recruitment and dismissal practices. Together with professional writers and law student interns, the wereda courts enhance the leverage of the Ethiopian workforce over Chinese managers. Lost legal battles frustrate the managers; the unconditional support of the authorities for the local workforce goes against their idea of the local state’s role as bolstering economic growth by supporting foreign investment.

Keywords:   Court, law, legal disputes, Ethiopian agency, employment conditions, contract

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