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New Dockworkers Deal Makes Life Easier for Asian Automakers

Tentative pact reached over the weekend.

by on Feb.23, 2015

A strike by West Coast dockworkers is now over, but it could take as long as eight weeks to clear the backlog.

Asian automakers with U.S. operations can breathe easier now as a long-strike by West Coast dockworkers is now over, although it will be weeks or months before things are back to normal.

Operations at ports on the West Coast began to pick up over the weekend as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association announced they had reached tentative agreement on a new labor agreement.

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But observers estimated it could take as long as eight weeks to clear the back log of cargo that had built up at key ports since the middle of January when the port operators began canceling afternoon and evening shifts in response to what they described as a deliberate slowdown. (more…)

Labor Strife Hits South African Automakers

What started small is now growing into a national issue.

by on Aug.11, 2010

Labor unrest has rippled across South Africa’s automotive sector, shutting plants and disrupting production throughout the country.

The strike has the potential to become one of the largest walkouts in the history of South African auto industry, which has expanded rapidly in recent years.

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Labor Strife!

One of the hardest hit automakers was BMW AG, which uses its assembly plant in Rosslyn, South Africa as the platform for exporting vehicles to other parts of the world.

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Is the Era of Cheap Chinese Products Over?

Toyota strike, floating Remnimbi raise ominous concerns.

by on Jun.23, 2010

Will demand for better wages hurt the Chinese auto industry? A rise in the value of the Remnimbi could be the real problem.

Toyota has again suspended production at its main Chinese assembly plant in the wake of a walkout by workers at a key supplier facility.  The second strike in a month at a joint venture partially owned by Japanese partsmaker Denso, hits hard a Toyota facility with the capacity for 360,000 vehicles a year.

The walkout comes in the wake of similar strife at a Honda transmission plant in China that cost that maker thousands of units of production and eventually led Honda to approve significant increases in wages and benefits to get angry workers back onto the line.

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Free and Worth It!

These and other recent labor confrontations come as a surprise to China-watchers who know how much emphasis the Beijing government puts on maintaining the appearance of social order.  And they’re all the more unusual considering the traditionally company-friendly approach unions have played in China.

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