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Honda Workers Get Another Two Weeks Off On Shortages

Mon, 05/23/2011 - 4:32am
Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Honda workers are taking 14 additional days off during June through August because of manufacturing disruptions caused by parts shortages, but will make up for the car production shortfall later in the year.

Honda Motor Co. said Monday that plant workers will take one extra day off in June, 10 more in July and three in August, and work those days in the latter half of the fiscal year to make up for the shortfall

Under Honda's latest move, all production at the Saitama and Suzuka auto plants, and part of the production at the Hamamatsu motorcycle plant, will be shut down for the 14 days.

Separately, Honda has sent a message to workers and their union that employees may be asked to take additional days off in coming months if the parts shortages continue, said spokesman Keitaro Yamamoto. Details have not been decided, he said.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan damaged hundreds of auto suppliers, forcing Japanese manufacturers, including Honda, to reduce production. Honda has said it doesn't expect to return to normal levels of production until late this year.

Japanese automakers have already decided to work weekends and take Thursday and Friday off in July, August and September, which are peak months for electricity use in Japan, to avoid blackouts stemming from expected power shortages.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that in addition to its plants, offices in Japan will be closed Thursday and Friday, instead of Saturday and Sunday, from July 1 through Sept. 30. It apologized for inconveniencing suppliers, dealers and other business partners, but said it was a priority to work together as a nation toward a recovery from the quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

The government has asked major companies to reduce electricity use by 15 percent. The quake and tsunami hobbled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, sending three reactors into meltdowns. The Hamaoka nuclear plant is also being shut down because of safety fears, further crimping energy sources.

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