Striking workers hand over their list of demands

10:17, July 17, 2010      

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Striking workers at a plant that supplies parts for Honda Motors' China operations have issued a long list of demands, with hopes of winning better salaries and working conditions commensurate with the country's growing economic clout.

Stoppages at foreign-run factories across China by workers demanding pay increases disrupted operations for several weeks in May and June, but the wave of unrest tapered off by the end of last month.

The latest strike kicked off on Monday when the Atsumitec Co plant in Foshan, South China's Guangdong province, tried to fire 90 workers who demanded better pay and working conditions.

The workers have asked their Japanese management to issue an apology for its conduct during the standoff and to promise not to lay off any employees for the next two years.

The workers are also seeking a monthly wage increase of about 500 yuan ($74). Monthly wages currently stand at about 980 yuan.

One worker said the two sides talked for about 20 minutes on Thursday, but the management failed to respond to their demands. No talks were set for Friday.

On Friday morning, roughly half of the 200-strong workforce was milling about the grounds of the plant, which manufactures car gear sticks.

Three police cars were parked outside the plant at a distance monitoring the workers, but there were no signs of trouble.

"We had no choice (but) to strike," said a line manager. "Otherwise, the 90 workers would be fired. That would be too miserable."

Atsumitec informed Honda that some production had resumed at the plant on Thursday evening, a Honda spokesman in Japan said. He added that the strike had not impacted Honda's China car making operations.

A factory worker confirmed that some production had restarted after the company brought in outsiders to work. Meantime, the factory had ceased providing drinking water to strikers, he added.

The factory supplies parts to Dongfeng Honda, a tie-up with Dongfeng Motor Group Co and Guangqi Honda, Honda's joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile, a worker said.

The wave of labor unrest at foreign-funded companies hit a peak in June.

The last reported stoppage, at Japanese-owned Tianjin Mitsumi Electric Co, ended on July 3.

Labor costs in China have been rising, partly encouraged by the government that wants to turn farmers and workers into more confident consumers.

Source: China Daily - Reuters


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