【英语中国】温总理给日企中国工人的中秋礼物

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所属分类:双语中国

2010-8-31 20:11

小艾摘要: Premier Wen Jiabao has just given Chinese workers at Japanese factories a mid-Autumn festival gift to go along with their mooncakes. He's told their Japanese bosses to pay them more.China-based HR ex ...
Premier Wen Jiabao has just given Chinese workers at Japanese factories a mid-Autumn festival gift to go along with their mooncakes. He's told their Japanese bosses to pay them more.

China-based HR executives at companies from Honda to Mitsubishi are now likely huddling in conference rooms trying to figure out how to respond to Wen's instructions.

Their options have just narrowed. It's a fair bet that disgruntled Chinese workers at the more miserly Japanese companies are already mobilizing for a battle over pay and conditions, in which they can be confident of government backing. If management takes them on, they've effectively picked a fight with the Chinese leadership.

Anti-Japanese sentiment bubbles just below the surface in China, so Wen's order carries an implicit threat. The subtext of his message to less-than-generous Japanese factory operators: Disregard this order at your peril. Over the next few weeks and months, expect the Chinese media to start pumping out stories detailing the hardships suffered by Chinese employees at the hands of their recalcitrant Japanese bosses. After all, Wen has just declared open season on the Japanese investment sector.

Beijing has plenty of good reasons to nudge manufacturing wages higher. For one, it wants to encourage consumption, and an easy way to do that is to put more money in workers' pockets.

But what are the benchmarks, beyond minimum salaries mandated by local governments? Salary comparatives are hard to come by in China. Sure, some Japanese employers have a reputation for being low payers. But, anecdotally, so do some Korean and Taiwanese companies. And surely, stingy Chinese employers are vastly more numerous than Japanese ones. Horror stories abound of Chinese factory owners refusing to pay their workers at all.

Picking on the Japanese, perhaps the most vulnerable group of investors in China, is a useful way to bring other foreign employers into line. By standing on his bully pulpit to drive wages higher, Wen has highlighted the real problems of workers in China: inadequate legal protections and a lack of institutions--including independent labor unions--capable of representing their interests and mediating in disputes with management.

Until that problem is addressed, Japanese executives trying to set appropriate salaries in China will have to read the political winds as carefully as the inflation data.

资企业内的中国工人中秋节时不仅会吃到月饼,还获得了中国国务院总理温家宝赠送的一份中秋礼物──温家宝告诉中国工人的日本老板要给工人涨工资。

从本田汽车到三菱等日资企业驻华人力资源高管目前可能都在会议室里进行着商讨,看如何应对温总理的指示。

其实这些日企高管没什么选择。毫无疑问,在吝啬的日本企业里工作的中国工人较为不满,他们已动员起来为争取提高工资和改善工作条件而斗争,他们无疑会得到政府的支持。如果管理层一意孤行,就是在向中国领导人挑衅。

反日情绪在中国不断酝酿,所以温家宝的指示有威胁的意味。他对日本企业经营者所发信息的潜台词是:无视这一指示,后果自负。预计未来几周和数月,中国媒体将开始连篇累牍地详细说明中国雇员在日本老板那里如何处境艰难。归根到底,温家宝刚刚开始宣布对日本投资业的进攻。

中国有很多理由要求提高制造业工资水平。一个理由是,中国希望鼓励消费,而简便易行的方式就是给工人涨工资。

但基准是什么,高于地方政府设定的最低工资水平吗?在中国很难进行工资比较。当然一些日本雇主因支付工资较低而出名,但一些韩国和台湾企业雇主也是如此。可以肯定的是,中国吝啬的雇主比日本的要多太多,甚至还有中国工厂主根本不给工人工资的可怕传言。

日本企业可能是中国最易受攻击的一群投资者,挑选日企作靶子,是使其他外企雇主就范的一个有用方法。温家宝关于提高工人工资的讲话,凸显了中国工人面临的真正问题:法律保护不足,缺少能够代表他们利益、调停与管理层纠纷的机构,其中包括独立的工会。

在这一问题解决前,那些想在中国设定合适工资标准的日本企业高管要像看通胀数据一样,仔细看好政治风向。

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