Appendix One : Chronology of Honda Workers’ Strike in CHAM
17 May 2010
150 assembly workers started a half-day strike demanding negotiation with the plant management for a rise in the basic wage to 800 yuan and the aggregate monthly salary rise to 2000-2500 yuan for all the production line workers. The management started communication with the strike workers. The Foshan Ministry of Labour and Social Security and Shishan town ACFTU intervened for mediation.
The management responded to the strike agreeing to raise the food allowance from 60 yuan to 120-155 yuan a month. Meanwhile the management demanded the worker interns comprising up to 50% of the whole workforce to sign the “Agreement to Internship” which authorizes the management and the vocational school where the interns come from to terminate the internship in the factory and study in school should they “take the lead or participate in work-to-rule, and work stoppages.”
Representatives from the Shishan town ACFTU and the plant management had negotiation with 45 worker representatives. The worker representatives demanded for a rise in the monthly take-home remuneration to 2000-2500 yuan. They made 108 demands for reform and improvement in the salary and working conditions to the management. The union and the management agreed to give an answer to their demands on 24 May.
Rumours were spreading about a pay rise of 200 yuan only. Two workers taking lead in the strike were fired. More workers joined the strike.
The management released the “Labour Dispute in Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co Ltd”. The management admitted that strike took place in the plant on 17 May (half day), 21 May evening, 22 May and 24 May, and promised to resolve the problem through consultation in good will with workers for reform on wages and welfare. In the afternoon, the management agreed to increase further the food allowance to 120-155 yuan a month and the basic wage to 920 yuan. Since the management shifted the monthly allowance of 355 yuan to the basic wage, it did not affect the aggregate take-home pay, the whole workforce went on strike. More than 1700 production line workers gathered in the factory complex yelling the slogan, “No wage increase, fight to the end”.
The management made a conditional offer which would increase the basic wage and the allowance by 355 yuan per month for regular workers and by 477 yuan for the interns (that was further adjusted to 366 yuan and 488 yuan respectively later); improve the wage consultation mechanism; deliver regular wage to workers for the days loss in the strike and agree to non-retaliation, on the condition of resumption of work on 27 May. Meanwhile, the management continued to pressure the worker intern to sign the “Agreement” promising a monthly pay rise of 400 yuan to the interns. Representatives of the vocational schools where the interns come from joined in the “persuasion” with the interns against their further participation in the industrial action.
The strike workers sent a public letter to the management further concretising their demands to: (1) Basic wage increase to 800 yuan; (2) Seniority allowance of 100 yuan per year; (3) Non-retaliation to strike workers; and (4) Re-structuring of the plant union. “If the company does not accept our demands, we will take ‘non-violent non-cooperative action’ and work to rule.”
Management agreed to adjust the monthly salary of regular production line workers from 1544yuan to 1910yuan ie 24% increase which is still lower than the workers’ demand for the monthly pay of 2000-2500 yuan. The management claimed that the proposal was accepted by most of the workers who would start resuming work in the afternoon. There were small clashes between the strike workers and the representatives of the plant union and the district federation when the former attempted to stop workers that were returning to the workplace. The workers on strike were accusing the trade union for not fully representing the workers but speaking for the management. The Nanhai District Shishan Town ACFTU had sent 100 officers from the township federation and other branch unions to station in the Honda plant for pacification of the industrial action.
The Nanhai District ACFTU and the Shishan Town ACFTU released an apology letter to all the workers in the Honda plant. The two unions claimed that the majority of the production line workers had returned to work on 31 May accepting the management’s proposal. The action of the 40 workers that called for continuation of the strike was harming the interests of the majority and disrupting production and order. The letter also assured workers against fear for retaliation and appealed for their trust in the union, the party and the government in handling the dispute.
Election of the representatives to the negotiation took place on 1 June and 2 June. The representatives were nominated and elected from all the departments. They formed the negotiation delegation. On 2 June, they released a statement to the public and all the workers in the Foshan plant. In the letter they lay down the bottom line of the workers’ demands, call for unity amongst workers and pledge for accountability to the production line workers’ assembly during the negotiation. They also appeal to the management for good faith in the negotiation and condemn the ACFTU for siding with the management rather than the strike workers.
The official negotiation began and went on for 6 hours attended by Zheng Qinghong, the General Manager of GAC and member of the State Council, and Chang Kai from Renming University. Both sides agreed to resume work on 7 June. The final deal is to raise the monthly basic wage of the regular workers from 1544 yuan to 1910 yuan increasing by 24%.