Honda workers go back to work, Wen Jiabao concerned
After ten days of strike, workers at the car giant’s plant end strike, but reject management offer. For China’s premier, everyone “should treat young migrant as they would treat their own children”.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Honda Lock’s 1,500 employees in Zhongshan, in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, are back to work after a ten-day strike. The plant, which is owned by Japanese car giant Honda, offered them a 200 yuan (US$ 25) monthly pay raise, but they rejected it demanding the better conditions and wages obtained by fellow workers at another plant.

A plant spokesperson, who accused workers of deliberately slowing work on the assembly line, said that a new offer would be made next Friday. In the meantime, management threatened to fire workers who stay home during a three-day banking holiday that ends on Thursday.

Overall, workers’ demands appear to be escalating and they can now count on an unexpected supporter, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

In a recent speech, China’s premier urged better treatment for the nation's vast army of migrant labourers. His views reflect those of the government, which is afraid of street demonstrations more than anything else.

“Rural migrant workers are the main army of the contemporary Chinese industrial workforce. Our wealth and our tall buildings are all distillations of your hard work and sweat,” Wen told a group of migrant workers in Beijing yesterday, the People's Daily reported today.

Wen is the first high tanking official to comment publicly about strikes and the current labour situation.

At the end of the meeting, which got top billing on national TV, he said, “The government and all parts of society should treat young migrant workers as they would treat their own children.”