Business

Strike halts production at Denso plant in China

Kyodo

A strike at a Chinese plant of Toyota Motor Corp. affiliate Denso Corp. in south China has halted production since Monday, a Denso spokesman said.

Seiichiro Kunitomi said Tuesday the strike at Denso (Guangzhou Nansha) Co. stemmed from “workers’ calls for better wages and treatment,” but he didn’t elaborate as management was negotiating with employees as he spoke.

The strike-hit factory mainly supplies fuel-injection parts to Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and other auto assemblers in China.

The Denso-owned plant has 1,100 employees, Goro Kanemasu, another Denso spokesman, said.

A receptionist who answered the phone at the Guangzhou plant said company managers were in an “emergency meeting” but declined to say if the strike was continuing.

She did say the plant was closed for the day.

The labor action is the latest against Japanese and other foreign manufacturers in China by workers seeking to benefit from the massive gains China’s surging domestic and export markets are bringing to corporations.

Toyota resumed operations only Monday at a key assembly plant in Tianjin after a parts supplier affiliate there settled a labor dispute Saturday.

The settlement allowed Tianjin Toyoda Gosei Co., a subsidiary of Toyoda Gosei Co., to resume supplying parts to Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., a Toyoda Gosei spokesman said.

Workers agreed to accept a proposal from Tianjin Toyoda Gosei management for a 20 percent wage increase from year-earlier levels and increased allowances for summer heat and perfect attendance, the spokesman said.

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

In early June, Honda agreed to a wage increase for workers at a parts plant where a strike forced its four assembly plants in China to shut down.

Commerce Minister Chen Deming has dismissed speculation the labor disputes involving Toyota, Honda and other foreign firms could prompt foreign investors to begin large-scale factory relocations to Vietnam, Thailand or other Asian economies.

Speaking to Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV last week, Chen said the disputes “will not have a sweeping effect once appropriately resolved,” the China Daily reported in its weekend edition.

“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.