Wednesday, June 02, 2010

China's labour rises in protest

China's labour market is showing signs of change. Labour strike at car manufacturer Honda's factory in China indicates that multi-national companies' over-reliance on China's cheap labour to stay competitive may not be a good business strategy. The strike also indicates rising tensions in China due to increasing disparity in wages and earnings.
This New York Times story on Honda strike says the strike is a wake up call to Japanese exporters.

Workers of Honda factory are on strike protesting low pay and poor working conditions. Such strikes are usually illegal in China. But in this case, even the state media gave a wide coverage to the strike and workers' demands in the initial few days of the strike. Then suddenly all content was removed from the state media sites. State media's initial coverage indicates the Chinese government's growing impatience with a low wage economy and a new desire to move up the wage ladder.

This analysis by a labour group concludes that "the reverberations from the strike by a relatively small number of Honda workers are just an indication of the political and economic ramifications of any broader upheaval of the Chinese working class."

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