Huawei workers are beginning to push back against the long overtime hours and its own HR department seems to be the source of the backlash. That's according to a recent Bloomberg report stemming from an internal messaging board post typed up by Hu Ling.
The employee works as a member of the human resources team at Huawei's elite 2012 Lab research unit.
Hu Ling implies that HR workers at Huawei are an integral part of the ongoing overtime problem. The employee says human resources can't be trusted and have "no honesty." The messaging board post about Huawei HR as it relates to overtime was quickly taken down and the company has rejected requests for comment, the source says, but not before inspiring further backlash.
One other employee, for example, calls out the company's practices as the real source of its problems. The employee indicated that it isn't external forces such as sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other countries that are causing Huawei trouble. Instead, the worker notes, Huawei is the source of its own problems.
Huawei overtime is forced by the need for self-made solutions
While reports about the company's own HR employees speaking against Huawei on its overtime policies is relatively new, the source of the latest problem has already been widely reported. Huawei had also already been working on a replacement for Android, dubbed HarmonyOS, for some time before the U.S.-imposed ban on the company.
Those bans did result in more than just the absence of Google apps or the Play store, however. And that due in part to pressures from the U.S. But it also comes down to reports and discoveries made about Huawei's practices in the interim. Via a roller coaster of decisions made and recanted over the past year, Huawei has subsequently dealt with uncertainty about everything from chip sourcing to software.
One of the bigger blows came when the UK's ARM made a decision to stop supplying the company with chips.
In the wake of that uncertainty, Huawei began instituting 24-hour workdays. As of at least June, that impacted as many as 10,000 of its approximately 180,000 employees, chiefly developers. Employees have been forced to work around the clock across three different shifts. Some have claimed that they are entirely unable to leave the office at all.
In August, the company went a step further to put its employees on notice. Summarily, the company warned that it would be rewarding outstanding employees with promotions and culling others. That memo applied across the entirety of the company.
All of that effort appears to be part of a bid to completely eliminate all reliance on American partnerships.
Relief may be on the horizon but isn't guaranteed
Things have also been looking up for Huawei over the past several weeks. But it isn't clear whether that's positively impacting the conditions for the company's employees. In particular, ARM has agreed to begin working with Huawei again after determining that the U.S. ban isn't applicable to the UK-based company.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson may also be prepared to offer some relief to Huawei. Mr. Johnson is reportedly considering allowing Huawei to take part in non-core portions of the region's 5G rollout. A lack of alternatives to Huawei undergirds that decision but it's also been backed by British intelligence agencies. The agencies are calling for a cautious approach to using Huawei equipment but not a total ban.
Although even some U.S. companies have again become open to the prospect of using Huawei equipment for 5G rollouts, none of that will necessarily halt the internal troubles that appear to be brewing for the company. At the very least, it isn't likely to help while Huawei is still forcing long overtime hours.