By Jennifer Cheung
Around 100 production line workers at the Nanhai Honda automotive plant, scene of a groundbreaking strike in the summer of 2010, staged another strike on the evening of 18 March after management and the trade union announced a new pay deal, workers told CLB.
Junior workers were told that they would get a pay increase of just 10.2 percent, about 160 to 220 yuan per month, while senior employees would get a 19.8 percent increase.
“Most of the workers on the assembly line are junior workers and our work is the most laborious, while senior workers only do light work,” complained a female worker. “It’s unfair.”
Even though many production line workers were unhappy with the pay raise being offered, the enterprise union approved it anyway, another worker said on his weibo. In addition to a better pay deal, workers were also reportedly seeking higher bonuses and an increased housing allowance.
After the workers went out on strike, the female employee said:
A manager came to persuade us, saying that previously our wages were indeed low, so it was normal for us to stage a strike back then. However, you cannot always resort to strike action to solve our problems. Look around, our salary is already higher than the neighboring factories.
The enterprise union has now promised workers that it will talk with management, and management has said it will listen to the workers’ demands, and it is expected to make a decision today. In response, the workers agreed to return to work today.
However, in a sign that management was concerned about the impact of another strike on the factory, and its status as a model for industrial relations, workers were warned not to post news of the strike on their weibo or talk to the media.
Following the successful strike of 2010, the enterprises trade union, with the help of the Guangdong provincial federation of trade unions, negotiated another pay increase for production line workers of 611 yuan per month the following year.
CLB is monitoring the current dispute and will provide updates as and when they occur.