Mitsumi Electric Co. Strike in Tianjin

02:01 Jun 30 2010 tianjin china

From Product Design and Development:

Workers at a Japanese-owed electronics plant in northern China have ended a strike over pay and benefits after four days, a Chinese state media report said Saturday.

The official Xinhua News Agency cited a statement by the Mitsumi Electric Co. saying the plant in Tianjin resumed production Saturday. Xinhua said the statement gave no details on any agreement between the plant and its estimated 2,800 workers.

The strike was the latest in China involving foreign-owned companies as workers grow more demanding about better conditions. A Mitsumi spokesman has said the workers likely were inspired by similar strikes elsewhere in recent weeks at China-based plants for Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda.

Mitsumi Electric could not be reached for comment Saturday, and there was no update posted on the website for its Tianjin plant.

About 100 Mitsumi workers were seen Thursday standing and sitting on the steps leading into the factory. Handwritten signs posted on the factory gates called on owners to "Return Our Blood Money," and for local leaders to give workers a fair wage.

One worker earlier told Xinhua that a new hire makes 1,500 yuan ($220) a month, working six days a week with two hours of overtime every day.

Beijing is normally quick to crush mass protests, but the labor strikes this summer have spread as the government tries to restructure its export-driven economy to become more self-sustaining though measures aimed at increasing the incomes of ordinary people.

Workers' salaries as a share of China's economy have declined for the last two decades, dropping from 57 percent of gross domestic product in 1983 to just 37 percent in 2005.

China's authoritarian leadership sees the gulf between rich and poor as a threat to Communist Party rule and has cited widening income disparities as a factor in the protests. Policies aimed at raising incomes for working-class Chinese and promoting more equitable growth are a priority for the next five-year plan, which the government is drafting now.
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