Honda's China plants halt production as workers strike for higher salaries (2)

08:09, May 28, 2010      

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"We are wearing masks because the company has used cameras to photograph or video us recently," he said.

Another worker surnamed He told Xinhua that some of them only earn 900 yuan a month -- lower than the standard minimum wage in Foshan.

"In our dorms, two workers have to share a single bed. In addition, we have our salary deducted by about 80 yuan per month for water and electricity fees," he said.

"The company has only agreed to increase our salaries by 300 yuan a month. But we will not resume work if they refuse to offer a rise of 800 yuan to 1,000 yuan," he said.

Due to the strike, another Honda plant in central Chinese city of Wuhan, the Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co, has suspended production as the supplies of gear-boxes came to a halt.

"When to resume production depends on when the supplies of the auto parts can be resumed," a company spokesman told Xinhua.

Thursday's strike came two days after Honda Motor President and Chief Executive Officer Takanobu Ito announced that the company plans to increase its manufacturing capacity in China by 36 percent by 2012, in a move that will expand the presence of Japan's second-largest automaker in the world's biggest auto market.

The move will raise Honda's production capacity in China to 830,000 vehicles by the end of 2012.

A factory operated by Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., a joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., will double its capacity to 240,000 units by 2011.

A new factory operated by Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co, will begin operation soon.

The automaker, which currently can produce 610,000 vehicles in China, reported annual sales of 576,223 units last year, up 22.5 percent year on year.

But Honda's expansion plan does not mean good news for its Chinese employees, they said.

"Our work gets busier and busier as production increases, but our salary has almost remained unchanged over the recent years," said a striking worker surnamed Yang at the Foshan plant.
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