• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. is set to resume operations at a key assembly plant in Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, on Monday after settling a labor dispute with an affiliated parts supplier in the city.

The settlement will allow Tianjin Toyoda Gosei Co., a subsidiary of Toyoda Gosei Co., to supply parts to Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co. starting Monday, a Toyoda Gosei spokesman said.

Workers agreed on Saturday to accept a proposal from Tianjin Toyoda Gosei management for a 20 percent wage hike from year-earlier levels after failing to win an additional pay raise they had been seeking, the spokesman said.

Instead, management agreed to provide workers with increased allowances for summer heat and for perfect attendance, the spokesman said.

With the agreement, about 1,800 employees at Tianjin Toyoda Gosei ended a strike they staged Thursday and Friday before returning to work Sunday.

The strike forced Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor, which operates one of Toyota’s main assembly plants in China, to halt work Friday.

More than half the cars Toyota manufactures in China come from Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor, which produces such cars as the Corolla and the Crown.

It was feared any prolonged disruption of operations in Tianjin would affect Toyota’s business throughout China, now the world’s biggest auto market.

The Tianjin labor action was the latest against Japanese and other foreign manufacturers in China by workers seeking to benefit from the massive gains that China’s surging domestic and export markets are bringing to companies. In early June, Honda Motor Co. agreed to give a wage hike to workers at a parts plant where a strike forced its four assembly plants in China to shut down.

Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming dismissed speculation the labor disputes involving Toyota and Honda could prompt large-scale transfers by foreign investors in factories to Vietnam, Thailand or other Asian economies.

Speaking to Phoenix TV on Friday about the string of recent strikes in China, Chen said they “will not have a sweeping effect once appropriately resolved,” the China Daily reported.

“Given the circumstances of the lingering global economic crisis and various other difficulties faced by enterprises, we will ensure the workers get a moderate increase in their pay and simultaneously guarantee that the employers will not be overburdened by the rising personnel costs,” the paper quoted Chen as saying.

Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor, which has three assembly lines, has an annual production capacity of 420,000 vehicles. It churned out about 380,000 units in 2009.

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