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World News

Factbox - China labour strikes developments, July 20

(Reuters) - China’s workers are increasingly voicing their discontent on labour conditions and pay, threatening to undermine the government’s legitimacy and erode the nation’s competitiveness as a low-cost factory hub.

Following are recent developments -- 1200 GMT (1:00 p.m. BST) on Tuesday (* new or updated items):

* Honda Motor Co said workers at a Chinese factory of Atsumitec Co have been on strike since July 12, with no resolution reached as of Tuesday. Over the weekend, the company brought in 100 replacement workers and threatened to fire the nearly 200 striking workers if they fail to return to work, local media reported. The factory in Foshan, Guangdong province, supplies Honda’s local plants with shift levers (gear sticks). Japan’s No.2 automaker said its four car plants in China were operating as usual with inventory.

- Honda’s export-only factory in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou resumed normal operations on July 9 after the company reached a compromise with workers. Production at the plant was partially halted on Wednesday and Thursday after a few dozen of the plant’s 1,000 employees, seeking higher wages and improved working conditions, refused to return to work. A Honda spokesman declined to disclose the terms of the compromise.

- Workers at a factory owned by electronic components maker Mitsumi Electric, in the northern port city of Tianjin, entered their third day of strikes on July 1. There are 3,000 employees at the plant. One told the official Xinhua agency he earned only 1,500 yuan ($220) a month after working regular overtime and Saturdays.

- Industrial conglomerate Ingersoll-Rand Plc said a three-day work stoppage involving workers at a Zhongshan factory in southern China had ended. The plant, which makes commercial air conditioning systems for Trane -- an air-conditioning systems maker that Ingersoll-Rand acquired in 2008 -- returned to production as of Saturday, June 26, the firm said.

- Striking workers at a Denso (Guangzhou Nansha) Co Ltd factory said they had reached agreement with management on June 25 after Denso promised a pay rise of 800-900 yuan per month.

Workers had returned to full production earlier on expectations they would reach an agreement.

The factory, owned by Japan’s Denso Corp, supplies fuel injection equipment and other parts to Toyota, Honda and other car makers. It stopped shipping to customers on June 21.

- Toyota Motor Corp said on June 25 it planned to resume production at its 360,000 units-a-year joint venture car plant in Guangzhou on Monday, expecting supply to flow again from the Denso factory. The GAC Toyota Motor factory had been suspended since June 22.

- A one-day strike at NHK-UNI Spring (Guangzhou) Co Ltd ended late on June 23. The plant, 60 percent-owned by Japan’s NHK Spring and 40 percent by a Taiwanese firm, makes suspension springs and stabilisers for nearby assembly plants of Honda Motor Co Ltd, Toyota and Nissan Motor Co.

- Honda said production at south China car plants, suspended due to the strike, restarted on June 24. Media had reported a Nissan factory in Guangzhou halted production briefly on Wednesday because of the walkout.

- Toyota’s Tianjin factory, held jointly with Chinese carmaker FAW, resumed output on June 21 after the strike-hit Toyota-affiliated parts maker Toyoda Gosei Co said it reached an agreement with workers. Toyoda Gosei said workers agreed to extra allowances for working in the summer heat and for a perfect attendance record, on top of an original 20 percent wage increase.

- Honda affiliate Nihon Plast said on June 21 it settled a labour dispute with workers at its Zhongshan plant, which produces plastic parts including steering wheels. The plant resumed production late on June 18 after a strike the previous day.

- Denmark’s Carlsberg said a strike at a brewery it part-owned in the southwestern city of Chongqing ended when workers returned to work on Friday (June 18).

- Honda saw an unusually long 3-week stoppage at its wholly owned parts factory in Foshan when 1,900 workers downed tools demanding better pay. After violent clashes and a management move to hike pay by 24 percent, most returned to work on June 4.

- Some 1,500 workers at Honda parts supplier Honda Lock, walked off the job on June 9, demanding a 700 yuan rise in basic wages and the establishment of an independent trade union among other conditions.

Workers rejected an initial offer, but agreed to return to work on June 15 in anticipation of an improved deal. In the end, however, management refused to grant more than a 280 yuan rise in wages and benefits, which was grudgingly accepted by most.

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