Hyundai and Kia begin new work schedules

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Hyundai and Kia begin new work schedules

ULSAN - Starting today, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors employees will no longer work overnight shifts for the first time since the nation’s leading automaker opened its Ulsan plant in 1967.

Under the management?union agreement announced earlier, production at the plant will halt for five hours and 20 minutes starting at 1:30 a.m.

Previously, employees worked around the clock in two shifts.

The first shift was 10 hours, 50 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6:50 p.m.; the second team worked for 11 hours from 9 p.m. until 8 a.m.

Under the new shift, the first team will work from 7 a.m. until 3:40 p.m. and the second team from 3: 40 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Under the new work schedule, employees will receive the same compensation as they did under the round-the-clock system.

The new shifts apply to all company plants and its main affiliate Kia Motors’ production lines and affects about 50,000 employees.

Management and the labor union agreed to end the graveyard shift last August, after having discussed the issue for a decade.

The company in a statement said that in the past, the nonstop production system was inevitable due to the rapidly changing global auto market. However, the agreement was made as part of its campaign to improve the quality of its products and employees’ lives.

The automakers’ biggest concern is how to maintain production levels.

Hyundai Motor said it will solve the problem by investing 300 billion won ($276 million) in increasing production capacity facilities while cutting down on lunch breaks. Instead of the previous one-hour lunch break, employees will get 40 minutes.

The nation’s second-leading automaker, Kia Motors, plans to increase the number of vehicles produced per hour to minimize.

Instead of the 308.3 vehicles rolling out every hour, the automaker plans to produce 338.3 vehicles.

By Cha Sang-eun, Lee Ho-jeong []
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