By on July 9, 2010

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.

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7 Comments on “Chinese Strikes: Honda Hit Directly. Bots To The Front...”

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      Completely useless at building interiors or fitting brake lines

      That’s going to change. Technology is advancing at a fast rate and you’ll see new capabilities at some point. With GPU computing and technology derived from surgical robots like the DaVinci, robots will be much more capable sooner than you think.

    • 0 avatar
      Andy D

      Heh heh, you never worked in a ship yard, I guess.

    • 0 avatar

      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

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    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.

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