Honda Offers Pay Raise to Chinese Strikers

Production partially restarting

Honda said on June 1 it had offered a 24% pay-rise to its auto parts workers in China to bring an unprecedented strike to an end, with production partially restarting.

Honda is ready to give a 366-yuan (US$53.80) raise to workers at Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co, in the southern city of Foshan, taking their monthly salary to 1,910 yuan, including allowances, officials in Tokyo said.

"As a result, operations resumed at part of the production lines for auto parts," said Akemi Ando, a Honda spokeswoman. "Today, we will decide on whether we can resume operations at our main assembly lines starting on June 3."

"Employees there are largely accepting our offer, while we will continue negotiations with those who are not satisfied with it by asking Chinese local authorities to play a mediator role," she added.

Honda said that production partially resumed at the parts factory, but Honda's Chinese assembly joint ventures, Guangqi Honda Automobile and Dongfeng Honda Automobile, remained closed due to the lack of key components.

Production at Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Honda's 50-50 joint venture with China's Guangzhou Automobile Group, stopped a week ago. The venture's two plants are in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province.

Output at Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co, the company's other joint venture, located in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, came to a standstill on May 26. The venture also operates two factories.

Honda sold 576,223 vehicles in China last year, up 23% from the previous year. Its Chinese sales rose 31% in April from a year earlier to 55,113 units.

The action by Honda workers comes amid heightened scrutiny of working conditions in China following a series of suicides at a vast assembly plant owned by Taiwan's Foxconn, which assembles Apple's best-selling iPhone and other gadgets. In an apparent effort to confront a growing tide of bad publicity over the suicides, Foxconn recently announced a 20% increase in salaries at its China plants.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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