06/10/2010, 00.00
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Strike hits a third Honda plant

Honda Lock employees down their tools for better wages. Second striking plant follows first in gaining concessions from management. Analysts note that China’s rulers totally ignore Marxist labour theories.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Workers at a third Honda plant downed tools yesterday morning. Following a successful resolution to the demands in the first plant that went on strike, workers at Honda Lock (Guangdong) in Xiaolan, Zhongshan, a supplier of key sets, door locks and other parts, decided to walk off the job to get a pay rise.

Strikers claim they were beaten by local police after management called them in right after the work stoppage went into effect. The plant’s 1,500 employees appear to have walked off all at once.

Police took away journalists trying to report on the strike, and the authorities immediately deleted internet posts describing it.

This is the third strike to hit a Honda plant this month. The first ended last Friday. After two weeks, workers in Foshan won a 500-yuan raise.

Their success led their colleagues in Fengfu to go on strike four days ago. A plant spokesperson said that there an agreement has been reached as well and that work should resume today.

In the meantime, people across China are scratching their heads, wondering what is going on. On paper, a state-run All-China Federation of Trade Unions represents everybody.

Independent unions are illegal and non-governmental groups and lawyers working on labour issues discouraged.

However, analysts believe this cannot last. Without fair wages and tolerable working conditions, production would halt.

In addition to pointing out the contradictions of a government that spouts Marxist theories but then brushes them aside in favour of unfettered capitalism, scholars and journalists are increasingly urging Beijing to respond positively to workers’ demands. Violence and police repression are no longer enough.

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