N.Chinese strikers

Honda Lock says Chinese strikers return to work - Business - GMANews.TV - Official Website of GMA News and Public Affairs - Latest Philippine News

Honda Lock says Chinese strikers return to work
06/15/2010 | 11:46 AM"

SHANGHAI — A Honda Motor parts supplier in southern China was operating at full capacity on Tuesday as striking workers returned to their jobs while wage talks continued, a company spokesman said.

The strike at Honda Lock (Guangdong) Co., which began on June 9, was one of many amid an upsurge in industrial actions by migrant workers frustrated over low pay, harsh working conditions and surging living costs.

Koji Matsuyama, a senior general affairs manager at Honda Lock's headquarters in Miyazaki, Japan, said around 1,500 workers returned to work Tuesday.

On Monday, many workers reportedly had returned to the factory but either refused to work or worked at a deliberately slow pace. Tuesday was the first time since last Thursday that the plant was operating at full capacity, Matsuyama acknowledged.

The factory will be closed Wednesday for the Dragon Boat festival, a public holiday.

Matsuyama said management would hold talks with workers about their demands for higher wages during the rest of the week.

"The strike is over. We will finalize details on pay conditions during the talks," Matsuyama said. He declined to elaborate further.

Matsuyama refused to comment on news that the factory was hiring new workers to replace those who refused to return to work.

However, an official who identified herself as a human resources manager at the plant in Zhongshan, just outside the southern city of Guangzhou, said that the company was hiring new workers to replace those who had not come back.

The workers who gave up the strike agreed to accept a wage raise of 200 yuan to 1,139 yuan or about $30 to $170, said the manager, who refused to give her name. The workers had been seeking raises of 1,700 yuan to 2,040 yuan or about $250 to $300, and rejected an earlier offer of 100 yuan or about $15, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The strike at Honda Lock hit as Honda resumed production at two other car assembly plants after resolving a three-day strike at parts supplier Foshan Fengfu Autoparts Co.

Honda said the Foshan factory employees agreed to a pay raise of 366 yuan or about $53.60 per month for each full-time worker. That would increase pay for a new employee to 1,910 yuan or about $280 per month.

Workers put up with slower wage growth during the recent economic slowdown, but as the economy has rebounded and prices rise, they are working longer hours with no appreciable improvement in income, prompting some to take action.

Fearing challenges to their hold on power, China's communist leaders ban unauthorized labor organizations and public dissent. Those who violate those bans face harassment and prosecution.

But authorities have long tolerated limited, local protests by workers unhappy over wages or other issues, perhaps recognizing the need for an outlet for such frustrations. —AP

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