(Reuters) – Workers at a factory making locks for Honda Motors cars in China remained on strike on Sunday, two workers said, although Honda said the dispute had been resolved and production had resumed.
Speaking from Japan, Honda spokeswoman Natsuno Asanuma said the dispute was resolved on Saturday, and production had restarted with the second shift that day at the Honda Lock factory. She could not comment on the situation on Sunday.
But two factory workers contacted by Reuters said management had yet to reach an agreement with most frontline workers and the strike remained in effect on Sunday.
Some managers had agreed to return to work after the company called workers on Saturday night and asked them to come to work on Sunday for a day of overtime, said one worker surnamed Chen.
Many workers showed up at the factory gates, but later left after it became apparent the company would not raise their wages above the 100 yuan ($114) per month it had already offered and workers had rejected, he said.
“Only some managers agreed to go back to work. Most regular assembly line workers are still on strike,” said Chen.
“The company is starting to show some sincerity, but, in my opinion, the local government is the one opposing a higher pay rise. I think they fear that if there’s a compromise and we get what we want, it could cause many other factories and workers in the region to also call for higher wages,” he said.
The strike was the latest in a series to hit factories in south China’s Pearl Delta area and a few other regions by workers demanding a greater piece of China’s growing economic wealth.
Honda’s Asanuma said production at Guangqi Honda, one of Honda’s car-making joint ventures in China, remained normal on Sunday, after being halted for two days last week due to lack of parts caused by previous strikes at two other suppliers.
On Friday, hundreds of workers at Honda Lock, which makes locks for Honda cars in the city of Zhongshan, in Guangdong province, refused to work and demanded higher pay and the right to choose their own representatives instead of state-sanctioned unions seen as subservient to management.
They had first walked off the job on Wednesday.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday about two thirds of the lock plant’s 1,400 workers joined the strike and demanded a pay increase of 500 yuan a month.
The strike continued at the plant on Saturday, with workers saying management had not agreed to their wage demands.
The strikers were “irritated by two corporate documents demanding a work resumption pledge, which were distributed to them on Friday and threatened to fire workers if they continued their walkout beyond June 15,” said Xinhua.
They were also angry after senior Honda executives did not visit the lock plant for promised talks, said Xinhua.
The Honda Lock factory is a joint venture between the Japanese company and a company affiliated with the government of Xiaolan Township, where it is located, said the report.
About 500 workers gathered outside the plant on Saturday morning hoping to hear a new offer from management, The South China Morning Post reported.
Dozens of police were at the scene but workers were eventually dispersed later in the morning without any clashes after no new offer was forthcoming.
(Writing by Doug Young; Additional reporting by Chris Buckley in Beijing; Editing by Matthew Jones)