* Some employees return to factory but refuse to work
* Factory hires 100 replacement workers
By Alison Leung
HONG KONG, July 20 A Chinese supplier of parts
to Honda Motor Co (7267.T) has taken a tougher line in a labour
dispute, saying it will fire some striking workers after
bringing in replacements over the weekend.
Management of the factory owned by Atsumitec Co, an
affiliate of Honda, said it would dismiss the nearly 200
strikers if they continued to stay off the job, a worker told
Reuters on Tuesday by telephone, confirming a report from the
official Xinhua news agency the previous day.
An official from Atsumitec was not available to comment.
Workers at the southern China plant handed in a letter
signed by 150 of the 200 strikers demanding a wage increase of
500 yuan ($74) per month, according to the Xinhua report.
The company hired nearly 100 replacement workers on
Saturday to keep the plant operating, said the worker,
confirming another detail in the Xinhua report.
Fearing they might be violating rules if they did not
report for work, some striking workers returned to the factory
and stood at their usual stations on the production line on
Tuesday but refused to work, the striking worker said.
"Some of us returned to the production line today but were
stopped as the company said workers could not stay on the line
if they were not working," he said, adding that those workers
finally left the line and went to the pantry.
Another 20-30 workers, mostly natives of Zhongshan in
Guangdong province, did not turn up on Tuesday after they were
warned by local government officials that if they continued to
strike they would lost some local benefits and rights.
"How can we live with just 1,000 yuan and everything is so
expensive now," said the worker, who came to the plant in
Foshan from a village in northwest China's Shaanxi province.
"The government is not helping us and the management rejected
our demands and is not talking to us."
The walkout, which entered its ninth day on Tuesday, is the
latest in a string of stoppages by Chinese workers demanding a
bigger piece of the country's economic wealth.
(Reporting by Alison Leung; Editing by Chris Lewis)