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Honda strike marks a watershed

posted 31 May 2010, 13:38 by Admin uk   [ updated 31 May 2010, 14:18 ]

The apparent victory for the Chinese workers at a Honda subsidiary plant signals a turning point in labour relations in China. The booming economy has enormously strengthened the working class. The official unions in large multinationals and their suppliers are divorced from the workers, so the workers find means, email, text, ...secret meetings, to combine to demand their rights.

As soon as the Honda strike halted production at all four Honda plants, and thus gained national headlines and global attention, the strike was settled in favour of the workers. I have no doubt that central government intervened and pressured local government and Honda to immediately settle on the workers' terms.

The widespread discussions on the internet in China on the suicides in Foxconn and news of the victory for the Honda workers, will lead to increasing levels of organisation from below. Already in Foxconn and other major companies, (like Coca Cola last year) groups of 'netizens' have infiltrated the factories in order to expose the conditions to the masses through the Internet.

The pressure from below will grow on the official unions to take a proactive role to lead strikes, in addition the pressure from abovewill demand that unions act before strikes break out. This means someform of semi-official space will be created for workers to organise or else a wave of spontaneous strikes will threaten the workplace authority of the party and unions.