Brazil Honda Workers Strike In Opposition To Possible Layoffs

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Workers at the Honda Motor Co. (HMC, 7267.TO) auto factory in Brazil went on strike Thursday morning in opposition to a proposal to lay off workers there after the earthquake and tsunami reduced the capacity to produce parts in Japan.

Workers at the factory in Sumare, in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, voted to halt work after being told by Honda it could reduce the work force by 35%, or about 1,200 workers, said Eliezer Mariano da Cunha, leader of the auto workers union that represents workers at the plant.

“They can reduce their profit margins and keep these workers,” Cunha said in a phone interview. “We’re opposed to any layoffs.”

Honda’s press office said that the company hasn’t reached a decision on whether it will lay off any of the 3,431 workers at the Sumare plant. A Honda spokesman said that even if the company does try to move forward with layoffs, the 1,200 figure being put forward by the union is “completely off target.”

The company and union said they will be in talks Thursday to negotiate reductions in production as they await parts production capacity in Japan to return to normal.

In addition to the auto factory, Honda has a motorcycle factory in Brazil’s Amazon region. That factory is unaffected by the strike.

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