Strike shuts down Japanese electronics factory in China

BEIJING, Thursday 1 July 2010 (AFP) – Production at a Japanese-owned electronics factory in northern China was suspended for the third day on Thursday as 3,000 workers went on strike over pay and benefits, the company said.

The dispute is the latest in a spate of labour unrest to hit foreign-run companies in China, which has highlighted growing discontent among millions of workers over low salaries and poor conditions.

The strike at the Tianjin Mitsumi Electric Co Ltd factory in the city of Tianjin began late Tuesday and workers were still refusing to resume their duties on Thursday, the Tokyo-based company said.

“All the (production) lines are currently stopped,” the company said in a statement. “Regarding the requests for pay increase and other conditions, we are continuing negotiations.”

Most of the 3,000 workers at the factory, which makes electronic components and computer parts, had stopped work, the official Xinhua news agency said Wednesday, citing several employees.

A worker surnamed Wang complained his monthly salary of 1,500 yuan (220 dollars) was too low considering he worked six days a week, two hours of overtime every day and received no benefits.

“I have been working here for almost two years,” Wang told Xinhua. “I can only get a monthly salary. There is no insurance whatsoever.”

Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda also have been forced to halt production at assembly plants several times in recent weeks after strikes at auto parts suppliers.

Taiwan high-tech giant Foxconn offered its employees in southern China wage hikes after a spate of worker suicides, and is now planning to shift some of its production to other parts of the country to counter rising costs.

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