China: Open Letter to the Public and All the Workers in Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co.

Delegation of Representatives of the Strike Workers for Negotiation

Workers in Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. of Foshan City started to resume work on a conditional basis in the evening of 1 June. The resumption of work was a result of the mediation of members of the National People’s Congress and Mr. Zeng Qinghong, Deputy Director and General Manager of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. We agree to temporary resumption of work for three days on the condition that the management shall provide satisfactory answers to our demands. Otherwise, the strike action will continue.

In the presence of Mr. Zeng Qinghong and representatives of the upper level trade union as observers, workers of Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd elected 16 representatives. The representatives held the first meeting right after the election. In the meeting, we demanded explanations from the trade union for the beating of workers by the trade union officers. We also reiterated our fundamental demands namely, salary increment by RMB800 for the whole workforce including the intern workers; improvement in the wage structure and job promotion mechanism; and last but not least, re-structuring of the branch trade union in Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Another fundamental demand we made was the commitment of the management to non-retaliation and no dismissal of workers participating in the strike. These demands were accepted by the General Manager of Guagnzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, Mr. Yamada Ichiho山田一穗 in the morning of 1 June. The night shift workers started to resume work in the evening on the same day. The worker representatives contacted Mr. Zeng Qinghong again on 2 June and the first meeting with the management after the resumption of work took place at 2pm on 3 June.

We hereby appeal to all workers in Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd.:

  • All of us fellow workers in Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd. should stay united and not divided by the management. We understand that there are, inevitably, different opinions amongst us. We appeal to all fellow workers to express their views to the worker representatives. Although these representatives do not cover workers in all the departments, they take the opinions of all workers in the factory seriously and equally. Production line workers who are motivated and would like to participate in the negotiation with the management can join the delegation through election. The representatives will notify all the workers immediately upon receiving any proposal from the management or Mr. Zeng. Without the endorsement given by the workers’ assembly, the representatives will not unilaterally agree to any proposal of standard lower than the demands stated in the above.

 

We hereby appeal to the management of Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd.:

  • The management should demonstrate sincerity, negotiate in good faith with us, and agree to the reasonable demands of the workers. Our factory is generating billions of dollars (yuan) on an annual basis and this is the profit created by the sweat and labour of the workers. We notice the criticisms against Honda published in the editorial of the Xinhua News Agent on 2 June. The editorial argues that “…the full-scale implementation of the collective wage consultation is the most urgent issue to be addressed at present. It should be promoted by means of a sound collective consultation and co-decision making mechanism on workers’ salary; a regular wage incremental and payment system, increase in the take-home remuneration of workers especially the production line workers; effective functioning of the worker representatives’ assembly; implementation of the right to know, right to participation, right to expression and monitoring of the whole workforce etc, for heightened enforcement of the legal rights of workers and building of harmonious labour relations.” The current three-shifts production system of the factory seriously inhibits the worker representatives from taking time off and participating in the negotiation. We ask the Honda management to provide time off for the worker representatives to have meetings and collect workers’ opinions; and to give assistance to the holding of the production line workers’ assembly.

 

We condemn the branch trade union of Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co., Ltd.:

  • On 1 June, the Nanhai District Federation of Trade Union and the Shishan Town Federation of Trade Union issued the “Letter of Apology” which is based on irresponsible distortion of the facts. The Letter says, “(T)he majority of the workers returned to their work place last night. The acts of the above mentioned 40 workers have damaged the rights and interests of the majority of the workers. Their acts also cause disruption to the normal production and order. The union steps up and advises these workers out of the responsibility to protect the legal rights of the majority. It is a performance of the trade union duty!” On the other hand, the management has been using all means to divide workers. The teachers of the vocational schools were sent to give pressure to the worker interns threatening them for non-awarding of their graduate certificates. This was the reason for the resumption of work of some workers on 31 May. The Nanhai District Federation of Trade Union and the Shishan Town Federation of Trade Union did not utter a word of protest against such acts. They rather act as the complicit of the company giving pressure to the interns during the break time and forcing them to sign the “Agreement to No Strike”. It is the duty of the trade union to defend workers’ collective interests and provide leadership in workers’ strike. Instead, the trade unions are fabricating excuses to justify the use of violence and the physical injuries they caused to the workers. We strongly condemn the acts of the trade unions. Today the management agreed to the wage increment. It is the result of the tremendous pressure created by the workers’ strike and the result of the workers’ sweat and blood. We are outraged to the trade union’s appropriation of the fruits of the workers’ struggles. We insist, that the branch trade union of the factory shall be elected by the production line workers.

 

We appeal also to the general public:

  • Our “weiquan” struggle (struggle for rights) is not a struggle to protect the mere interests of 1800 workers. We are concerned with the rights and interests of the workers in the whole country. We want to demonstrate a good example of the ‘weiquan’ struggle of workers. We are aware that the factory also employs a sizable number of dispatch delivery workers. They are not the direct employees of Honda company but they work at the same place as we do. We are informed that the dispatch delivery workers are also electing representatives for negotiation with the management. We express our full support to them! At the same time, we are in urgent need of support from the media and the society! As for the back up that has been given to us so far, we express our deep gratitude for it.

 

Delegation of Representatives of the Strike Workers for Negotiation
Honda Auto Parts Manufacturing Co. Ltd
Nanhai District Foshan City
3 June 2010

Source: China Study Group