Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
President & CEO
Mr. Takanobu Ito
Dear Mr. Ito,
We have received information about the strike by workers at the Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co. in Foshan, China. We are informed that of more than 1,800 employees in the factory, 80 percent are student interns from technical schools, who are not protected by the labor law and whose wages are as low as 900 Yuan per month – below the minimum wage for the city. The interns are provided with only one meal a day and are charged for the cost of utilities connected with their lodging, reducing their earnings to only around 700 Yuan per month. Even after interns become regular employees, their wages are only 1,000 Yuan per month.
The workers went on strike to demand increased wages, yet during the negotiations the management has not shown good faith. The management has begun to force the interns to sign a “no more strikes” promise and has even mobilized some of the interns’ teachers and local government officials to exert pressure on the interns to go back to work on May 31. Throughout the process, the Honda official trade union has not provided any assistance for the striking workers, but urged them to resume production as soon as possible without regard for the resolution of the workers’ grievances and demands.
On May 31, your company in China continued to refuse negotiations. What is more, the local government together with the trade union, went to each team of workers and threatened with dismissal if they didn’t go back to work immediately. The worker representatives’ complained to us that about 200 men wearing union badges, attacked some 40 workers who insisted on continuing the strike. The assault led to multiple injuries and bleeding. We are shocked and outraged to learn that during the attack China Honda management did nothing to stop the assault on workers. We severely condemn such illegal acts of violence and Honda owes an apology to their workers.
You yourself reported in April 2010 that last year Honda’s sales achieved an all-time record of 580,000 units in China, the world’s largest automobile market. The workers of the factory are never able to afford one of the cars, which they are helping to produce by making auto parts. As the producing workers, they have a right to bargain for a greater share in the profits of the firm, and as management of a company originating in Japan, the management should respect the workers’ rights to free association and collective bargaining. The management should not shame itself by threatening and dismissing workers when they justly demand a greater share of the huge profits reaped by the company.
Rather, we hope that Honda management will lead the way in showing ‘harmonious relations’ with its workers, and we join the striking workers of Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in demanding the following:
- Take responsibility for failing to ensure the workers’ safety by allowing the union men to attack the workers on May 31 which resulted in casualty, and paying for their medical treatment and recovery.
- Accept workers’ demands for higher wages: a wage increase of 800 Yuan per month for all workers and a compensation subsidy of 100 Yuan for each additional year of service.
- Reorganization of the Honda company union – organize a re-election of the trade union chairman and officers so that workers may elect representatives who act in accordance with their interests.
- Reinstate the dismissed employees and impose no punishment for workers who joined the strikes.
- No retaliation against workers after the settlement of dispute.
May Wong, Globalization Monitor, Director
Doris Lee, Asia Monitor Resource Centre
ATNC Monitoring Network, Coordinator
On behalf of:
Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong
Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, Hong Kong
Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong
Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF), Cambodia
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia
Workers Assistance Center, Inc., Philippines
Solidarity of Cavite Workers, Philippines
National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights – Southern Tagalog, Philippines
Labor Education Advocacy Development and Services and Research Institute, Philippines
Committee for Asian Women, Thailand
KASBI – Congress of Indonesia Unions Alliance, Indonesia
Focus on the Global South, Thailand
ATNC Monitoring Network
China Labour Net, Hong Kong
June 1, 2010