Chinese Strikes: Honda Hit Directly. Bots To The Front

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
chinese strikes honda hit directly bots to the front

So far, the strikes in China were just small – but effective – sideshows. Strike at a small, but strategically important supplier, and whole car factories shut down. That, however, only led to wage increases at the small, but strategically important supplier. Until last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, workers at a Honda factory in Guangzhou walked out. This was the first time workers struck an auto plant, instead of Just a supplier. The Honda plant remained closed until ” workers and management reached an agreement on wage increases and other matters by Thursday evening and operations were resumed,” said an official at a local Honda unit to The Nikkei [sub] Details were not disclosed. With 1,000 workers, the plant makes 50,000 cars a year, mostly Jazz compacts for export.

The student of recent Chinese strikes may recall that Honda had been the first company to be affected. Of course, other carmakers are no bracing for similar action.

Other manufacturers take a different route. The Japanese autoparts manufacturer H-One will quadruple the number of welding robots in its three Chinese plants “in an effort to limit labor costs by increasing production line automation,” writes The Nikkei [sub]. Robots don’t strike and produce more consistent quality.

Join the conversation
  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Jul 09, 2010

    It would be interesting to know if there have been any strikes at majority state-owned companies as well. Sounds like a lot of these strikes have had the sympathy if not backing of the red government.

  • Znork Znork on Jul 09, 2010

    Robots are good at welding. Completely useless at building interiors or fitting brake lines. On the whole this is a good thing for all, chinese wages go up, quality improves, welders will go on to welding the more delicate welds, improving their skill and quality of life. The kind of welding the robots are good at is not a place for humans, it's hot, loud, dirty and backbreaking work.

    • See 2 previous
    • Coligny Coligny on Jul 10, 2010

      I take carefull manual labor over robotic steady mediocrity everyday... Once setup, robots can do the same thing bajilion times... Setting them up to do the job perfectly is another matter

  • CRacK hEaD aLLeY CRacK hEaD aLLeY on Jul 09, 2010

    One day H-One will decide to open a new factory in Detroit, MI because the location offers cheap labor, tax credits and low environmental regulations compared to mainland China.