Strikes are illegal in China. But they're on the rise -- and the government is sending some not-at-all-subtle signals that it's siding with the workers.
A walkout last week at a Denso fuel injector plant in south China marks the seventh strike against a Japanese-owned supplier in the past month.
To resolve the strikes, employers raised wages as much as 30 percent for the workers. Factory workers in China average $150 to $290 a month.
After an initial silence, the state-run Xinhua news agency published editorials sympathizing with the strikers. And in a TV speech June 14, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo urged the nation to "treat young migrant workers as they would treat their own children."
Beijing hasn't issued any new edicts on wages, but it won't have to. The government's message is clear: Wages should go up, and they should go up soon.
Automakers and suppliers are taking the increases in stride. Wages will remain a relatively small proportion of the overall cost of parts and vehicles produced in China.