Honda Resumes Car Production at Two Assembly Plants in China

Labor dispute continues at company's joint venture factory, which supplies car locks and key sets.

Japan's No. 2 automaker Honda Motor said production resumed Friday at two vehicle assembly plants in southern China, where operations have been on and off in recent weeks due to strikes.

However, there is "no update" about an ongoing labor dispute involving workers at a factory in the southern province of Guangdong that produces car locks and key sets, a Beijing-based Honda spokesman told AFP.

Production at the two plants run by Honda's Chinese joint venture Guangqi Honda Automobile was halted Wednesday and Thursday, mainly due to a strike at Foshan Fengfu Autoparts, which produces exhaust and muffler systems.

Tokyo-based Honda said earlier that the labor action at Foshan Fengfu, a joint venture between Honda's subsidiary Yutaka Giken and a Taiwanese firm, had been resolved and work resumed Thursday.

"Production has resumed [at the assembly plants]," the spokesman said.

The new dispute involving workers at the company's joint venture Honda Lock (Guangdong) Co, which has about 1,500 employees, erupted on Wednesday, the third strike to hit Honda's suppliers in China in recent weeks.

Officials in Xiaolan county, where the joint venture is located, said negotiations between Honda and the workers were ongoing and several hundred workers had gathered at the factory gate Friday morning.

Honda has offered workers at Honda Lock (Guangdong) a pay rise of 100 yuan [US$15] from the current salary of around 1700 yuan per month but the workers were demanding salaries above 2,000 yuan, county official Dong Zuwen, who is involved in the talks, told AFP.

"Such an incident has never happened here before," said Dong, adding that workers may "have taken a leaf from the strike" at an earlier walkout at the carmaker's main engine parts unit in Guangdong.

Honda, which has a production capacity of 650,000 vehicles per year in China, last week resolved an initial strike at Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co by offering workers a 24% pay rise.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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