China’s workers are in the spotlight with the rash of suicides at the Foxconn plants, and now a strike at an auto parts factory that has forced Honda to shut down all its joint-venture assembly plants in the country. From the New York Times:
Industrial wages have been climbing steeply in the export zones of China’s coastal provinces, but workers’ expectations have been rising even more steeply. Many of the millions of migrant workers who used to fill multinationals’ factories near the coast are now finding jobs closer to home in China’s interior, and the resulting labor shortage has given workers new leverage to demand higher wages and better conditions.
China has emerged as the leading destination for manufacturing investments and purchasing orders by multinationals to a considerable extent because of its reputation as a reliable, low-wage supplier where strikes were rare, and they were quickly broken up by the police if they happened at all.
But all 1,900 workers at a transmission factory in Foshan, about 100 miles northwest of Hong Kong, have been on strike for higher wages since May 21, said Yasuko Matsuura, a Honda spokeswoman. The factory is wholly owned by Honda’s Chinese subsidiary, and talks are continuing with the workers.
“It’s still under negotiation. It’s not over yet,” she said.