China's BYD says will hire more U.S. employees for California plant

SHANGHAI Mon Nov 4, 2013 2:00am EST

Women walk in front of the logo of Chinese car manufacturer BYD (Build Your Dreams) Auto stage before the opening of the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song

Women walk in front of the logo of Chinese car manufacturer BYD (Build Your Dreams) Auto stage before the opening of the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai April 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Warren Buffett-backed Chinese carmaker BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK) 002594.SZ said it would hire more local employees at its new electric bus factory in California, its latest response to criticism that it violated labor rules in the United States.

BYD has temporarily loaned some Chinese engineers and experts to transfer Chinese technology to local employees at its Los Angeles factory and will not be displacing any American workers, BYD said in a statement on Monday.

BYD plans to hire more local employees as bus production commences, it added. BYD currently employs about 40 local workers at the plant.

Advocacy group Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy said that the carmaker had failed to pay workers the required minimum wage and accused it of other violations. The company was fined $100,000 after California authorities investigated the charges, according to a recent New York Times report.

BYD said last week the labor rights group spreading was "misinformation".

In the statement on Monday, BYD said it is "dedicated to ensuring that its employees are treated fairly" and provided details of some of its workers' conditions at its factory.

BYD is stepping up efforts to sell electric vehicles overseas. It has signed several contracts this year, including one to supply the U.S. cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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