Striking workers at Honda China supplier demand apology

* Workers also demanding 500 yuan monthly pay rise

* No talks set for today – worker

* Honda says China production unaffected

By Alison Leung

FOSHAN, China, July 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Striking workers at a
plant supplying parts to Honda Motors’ (7267.T: ) China
operations have issued a long list of demands for returning to
work, aiming to win better conditions commensurate with China’s
rising 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, which began on Monday when the plant
operated by Atsumitec Co tried to fire 90 workers who were
demanding better pay and work conditions, is the latest in a
string of similar work stoppages in May and June across China.

Among their demands, the workers are asking for Japanese
management to apologise to Chinese workers for its conduct
during the standoff, and to promise not to lay off any
employees for the next two years.

They are also seeking an increase of about 500 yuan ($74)
per month, from wages that currently total about 900 yuan.

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

On Friday morning, roughly half of the 200-person workforce
was milling about the grounds of the plant, which makes car
gear sticks in the south China city of Foshan.

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

“We had no choice, the choice to strike,” one line manager
told Reuters. “Otherwise 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 hasn’t had any impact on Honda’s
China car-making operations.

The factory supplies parts to Dongfeng Honda, a tie-up with
Dongfeng Motor Group Co (0489.HK: ) and Guangqi Honda, Honda’s
joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile, a worker told Reuters.

The strike marks the end of a couple of weeks of relative
calm for foreign-run Chinese factories.

The wave of current unrest hit a peak in June, but reports
tapered off at the end of the month. The last reported
stoppage, at Japanese-owned Tianjin Mitsumi Electric Co, ended
on July 3.

Labour costs in China have been rising, partly encouraged
by a government that wants to turn farmers and workers into
more confident consumers, even as it tries to keep a lid on
strikes. (Writing by Doug Young; Additional reporting by Ran
Kim and Tyrone Siu; Editing by Don Durfee and Kazunori Takada)

Striking workers at Honda China supplier demand apology