News / Asia

Strikes, Suicides Sign of Growing Labor Tensions in China

Strikes, Suicides Sign of Growing Labor Tensions in China
Strikes, Suicides Sign of Growing Labor Tensions in China

Striking workers demanding better wages have shut down four Japanese-owned Honda Motors assembly plants in southern China.  The dispute comes as Honda sales recorded a 30 percent jump in sales in China in four months of this year, to 219,514 vehicles.

Company officials say they hope to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

Strikes are rare in China, largely because laws are not clear about the right to strike for better working conditions or pay.

"Strikes are not illegal nor are they completely legal. There's no right to strike in the Chinese constitution," said Jeffery Crothall, who is with the China Labor Bulletin in Hong Kong. "That was removed from the constitution in 1982 but it's not illegal to strike. It's a grey area.


But, he adss, unions are weak and are not independent, which helps make strikes rare.

"There's only one union, the government's All-China Federation of Unions, and every enterprise union has to be affiliated to it and they are heavily influenced by management. I can't think of one trade union branch in a factory in China that really whole heartedly represents the interest of workers," said Crothall.

In another sign of labor troubles, a worker at the world's largest electronics maker, Foxconn, attempted suicide Thursday, the third unsuccessful attempt this year. 10 workers at the factory in southern China have taken their own lives this year.

Crothall believes the suicides at Foxconn contrast greatly with the collective action of Honda workers.
He says this reveals the inconsistency in management skills in Chinese factories and is the result of the lax laws governing workers rights and unionism.

Foxconn, a Taiwan company, manufactures mobile phones and electronic equipment for top brands including Dell computers and Apple. Its employs more than 400,000 people at its plant in Shenzhen.

It has been criticized in the past for its military-style discipline, long hours and low pay.

The Chinese media has been reporting about the Honda strike and the Foxconn suicides, but is banned from reporting about labor action at domestically owned companies.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid