Auto Industry Strikes in China

Between May and July of this year a series of high-profile strikes in foreign-owned auto parts plants spread throughout China’s coastal regions.

Strikes in China are nothing new, but the recent strike wave was remarkable in at least three respects: the amount of concessions granted to workers; the degree of publicity it initially received in the Chinese media; and the prospects for showcase union reform that it has helped push onto the agenda.

Although the strikes were directed primarily at unfair wages, there were some attempts to address the more political question of union representation.

Workers that I spoke with who had participated in strikes at Honda factories had clearly been politicized by the events and were well aware of strikes occurring throughout China’s auto industry.

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