Toyota Gosei Starlight Rubber and Plastic Co. Workers Strike in Xiqing Economic Development Zone, Tianjin

03:41 Jun 15 2010 Tianjin, China

From China Daily:

From China Daily:

Another TG subsidiary, Tianjin Star Light Rubber & Plastic Co (Star Light), in Tianjin's Xiqing Economic Development Area, was also hit by a strike on Tuesday when more than 1,000 workers put down their tools, demanding their pay be restored to its 2009 level.

On average, the workers' pay had dropped by 50 percent since early 2010, said a female employee surnamed Huang.

The strike ended after the company agreed to the workers' demands on Tuesday night. The brief strike did not disrupt Star Light's supply to Toyota's Tianjin assembly lines, a Tianjin Toyota spokesman surnamed Bi said.

The strikes at TG followed a string of walkouts over pay since early May: three at Honda's auto parts plants in Guangdong; one at a parts supplier in East China's Jiangsu province; and another at an industrial sewing machine company, also funded by a Japanese investor, in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province.

From Lance Carter in Insurgent Notes:

Toyota Gosei Starlight Rubber and Plastic Co. (compact car door components and other parts) factory in the Xiqing Economic Development Zone, Tianjin
-strike from June 15th to evening of June 15th.
-total of around 800 or 827 workers employed (discrepancy in statistics); 1,000 workers on strike (discrepancy in statistics).
-did not stop production at other plants
-demanded salaries be restored to 2009 levels after dropping 50% in early 2010.

From SCMP:

Labour unrest continues to spread across the mainland, with Japan's Toyota Motor dealing with a second strike this week and another Japanese carmaker, Honda, again hit by a one-day strike.

A strike may also resume at a factory that makes locks for Honda after management failed yesterday to offer the pay rise demanded by workers.

Observers say the strikes highlight the broader demand for wage increases from mainland workers, who have long been underpaid and overworked.

The central government has long been aware of the potential danger posed by discontent among its 130 million-strong migrant workforce, but it is reluctant to allow independent trade unions because of fears that they could challenge party rule.

Workers at Toyoda Gosei, a Tianjin car parts factory affiliated with Toyota, went on strike on Thursday, and more joined in yesterday after hearing about police beating two workers on Thursday night, staff at the plant told the South China Morning Post.

'All the workers were talking about the beating incident this morning and everyone is very angry,' said a staff member, who declined to be named.

Some workers returned to work yesterday afternoon after the company denied the incident, but many remained upset and continued to strike, staff members said.

Reuters reported that a grainy video shot by a worker on his mobile phone inside the factory on Thursday night showed scuffles between police and workers, punctuated by screams of 'the police are coming'.

A Beijing-based Toyota spokesman said it was aware of the strike at Tianjin Toyoda Gosei and was monitoring the situation.

He said the strike at the component factory had not yet affected Toyota's mainland car plants.

The strike was the second to hit Toyota this week. Workers at another supplier of the carmaker, Tianjin Star Light Rubber and Plastic - also a Toyoda Gosei unit - downed tools on Tuesday but resumed production on Wednesday after the company agreed to discuss wage increases for its 800 workers.

Meanwhile, Honda was hit by another strike at its component supplier Wuhan Auto Parts Alliance in Wuhan, Hubei , on Thursday, according to a Beijing-based Honda spokesman. He said the workers returned to work by noon yesterday and the strike had not affected car production on the mainland. Ta Kung Pao reported that the strike involved 240 workers, who demanded an extra 800 yuan (HK$912) a month in pay and subsidies.

A staff member at Wuhan Auto Parts Alliance said yesterday that the company was 'trying our best to deal with the issue' although no agreement had been reached with the workers.

In Zhongshan , Guangdong, the management of a factory that makes locks for Honda cars offered workers a rise of 200 yuan in pay and 80 yuan in subsidies late last night, after six hours of negotiations.

Management had previously offered a pay rise of 100 yuan a month in wages and 100 yuan in bonuses, but most workers rejected the offer as too low.

Workers at the Honda Lock factory went back to work on Tuesday after a six-day strike, pending the result of last night's negotiations. Workers had earlier asked for a pay rise of at least 300 yuan and it was unclear whether they would accept the management offer and return to work. Workers had earlier vowed to strike again if they were unhappy with the offer.

The Honda Lock strike was Honda's third labour dispute on the mainland in a month.

Elsewhere, a short strike at Chongqing Brewery ended yesterday after talks with management, Danish brewer Carlsberg, a part owner of the plant, said, according to Reuters. But a witness said it was continuing.

The Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, called this week for higher incomes for workers to protect stability, while Premier Wen Jiabao called for better treatment of workers.

Geoffrey Crothall of the China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based workers' rights group, said the strikes showed that mainland workers had long been putting up with low wages. '[These are] just pent-up demands for higher wages - people have been having to get by on very low wages for a very long time,' he said.

Observers say it is no surprise that workers from different plants in the same industry are taking part in strikes, as they communicate with each other and naturally want to have comparable remuneration.

'Workers' most frequent complaints are their low wages and long working hours. This is what they have been saying for a long time,' said Wei Wei , founder of the Beijing-based Little Bird hotline for migrant workers.
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