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Sony puts China strike to rest with pay offer

A walkout at Sony's Guangzhou factory ended Friday.

GUANGZHOU -- A major two-week strike at a Sony unit's factory here ended Friday after the company offered to pay each employee up to 1,000 yuan ($144) to return to work.

The amount is roughly equivalent to half the base monthly salary at Sony Electronics Huanan, which manufactures camera modules. The company also offered to pay its roughly 4,000 employees at the plant in full for the work they missed since the walkout began on Nov. 10. Most have accepted the terms.

"I wanted money so badly," a 26-year-old worker told The Nikkei on Friday. "I'm pretty satisfied with an additional half-month's salary."

But concerns remain over product delivery. Because all lines at the plant were halted for two weeks, the equipment must be inspected before restarting. "It will take at least one week, and production won't start until the beginning of December at the earliest," an official said.

The factory produces a key component in smartphone cameras and is a major supplier to Apple. It aims to get production back on track for the holiday shopping season.

The incident began when Sony announced on Nov. 7 that it was selling the subsidiary to China's Shenzhen O-film Tech. The workers, concerned with the change in ownership, began to protest and demand compensation.

It is not required under Chinese law that workers be paid for a change in employer. Sony is believed to have made the move in order to quickly put the situation to rest. The strike may also impact the electronics giant's negotiations over the sale of the plant.

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