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Demographics, generational changes, and policy successes have been key factors in changing worker mentality

In an insightful article in Caixin Online, the prominent economist Andy Xie recently wrote about one of the key factors that is contributing to the recent strikes and labour unrest: important demographic changes.
08 June 2010

Latest reports on labour unrest

Fresh worker unrest has broken out, this time in the affluent Yangtze River Delta, with hundreds of striking workers and police clashing outside a rubber factory near Shanghai on Monday morning. Workers said dozens were injured or detained and they continued their sit-in yesterday. Meanwhile, a strike at a Honda-affiliated plant in the Pearl River Delta city of Foshan looks set to continue for a third day. The strike, involving more than 250 of the 300 workers at the Foshan Fengfu Autoparts plant, attracted a heavy police presence.
09 June 2010

SACOM’s open letter to Steve Jobs

In the wake of the tragic suicides at Foxconn in Shenzhen, Hong Kong-based activists, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) have issued an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs demanding that Apple actively engage with Foxconn to reform its management system based on greater worker participation.
10 June 2010

On the Honda strikes and Foxconn

In this podcast Geoffrey Crothall and William Nee discuss the recent strikes at the Honda plant (and in other areas of China like Shanghai and 
10 June 2010

A roundup of last week’s strike action in China

A third strike at a Honda components plant broke out on Wednesday 9 June, with workers again demanding substantial pay increases and the right to elect a genuinely representative trade union at the plant, Honda Lock, in Zhongshan, which employs 1,700 workers.
11 June 2010

Analysis of the Honda strike in the FT, Washington Post and Guardian

If Li Xiaojuan has her way, the rest of the world will no longer be able to take cheap Chinese labour for granted. The 20-year-old, who works on the production line at a Honda components factory in Foshan, a manufacturing city in southern Guangdong province, was one of the few workers at Honda Automotive Components Manufacturing to take a public stand in an industrial action late last month.
12 June 2010

Partial victory for Honda workers suggests a reasonably healthy state of labour relations

As the week-long strike at Honda Lock faded today, the picture that emerges is one of a relatively healthy and dynamic system of labour relations, albeit one that is still far from ideal. Emboldened by the success of strikes at two other Honda components plants, the workers at Honda Lock had asked for a wage increase of around 70 percent. After protracted negotiations and intense pressure from the workforce, management finally offered an increase in pay and benefits of around 20 percent. This, combined with attempts by management to recruit new employees, was enough to convince the majority of workers to return to the production line on Monday morning.
14 June 2010

Additional reports on labour unrest

Honda Motor Co., grappling with the worst strikes to hit its 18-year-old Chinese manufacturing business, said it needs to improve communication with employees after the walkouts took the company by surprise. “We couldn’t predict the strikes,” Yoshiyuki Kuroda, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based carmaker, said in a phone interview. “We need to have more opportunities for managers to listen to employees regularly.”
17 June 2010

Amid Honda and Foxconn tragedies in China, a new era of worker activism

City governments across China need to repay the debt owed to the migrant workers who have generated their tax revenues for so long, says prominent workers’ rights advocate Han Dongfang
17 June 2010

As automotive strikes spread, Honda components plant “experiments” with workplace democracy

Workers at a second Toyota plant in Tianjin went on strike on Thursday 17 June, causing production to be suspended. A brief strike at Toyota’s steering wheel manufacturer in Tianjin earlier on 15 June ended when management agreed to consider workers’ demands for higher pay. However, several workers at Tianjin Star Light Rubber and Plastic have expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of negotiations and are threatening to strike again if their demands are not met. Meanwhile, the trade union at the Honda components plant in Foshan, which did nothing to help workers in their successful strike action last month, is to be reformed and its leaders democratically elected by the employees, a senior Guangdong union official has said.
18 June 2010
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