Kia union starts partial strike over wage deal

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Kia union starts partial strike over wage deal


Kia Motors’ labor union said it will launch a partial strike today after failing to reach an agreement with management on wages for next year.

After negotiations between labor and management broke down on Thursday, the union said they will go into partial strike today that will last until Friday. The partial strike will last for four hours from Monday to Thursday and six hours on Friday. This is the first partial strike at Kia Motors since wage negotiations started in June. The union said it would halt the strike if negotiations resume this week.

The union is asking for a 5.3 percent increase in monthly base pay, which translates to 116,276 won ($103.97) more per month for every employee. It also asked for 30 percent of the company’s operating profit to go to employees as incentives.

Management, on the other hand, maintained its stance, which was a 43,000 won average increase to the base pay, an incentive worth 250 percent of their ordinary monthly pay and an extra bonus of 2.7 million won.

Kia Motors recorded low profits for the first half of this year. It posted 26.6 trillion won in revenue, up just 0.8 percent from the first half of last year. Its operating profit dropped by 16.3 percent year on year to 658.2 billion won. Kia’s affiliate Hyundai Motor sealed its wage deal much earlier in July, with its union voting in favor of a modest wage renewal. The settlement was made before the company’s summer vacation starts in August for the first time in eight years.

The Hyundai union agreed to a monthly base pay raise of 45,000 won, an incentive payment worth 250 percent of their ordinary monthly wage and a bonus of 2.8 million won. The union had initially asked a raise of over 110,000 won to the base wage.

The early agreement was due to uncertainty in both domestic and overseas markets. Hyundai Motor’s operating profit dropped by 37.1 percent year on year to 1.6 trillion won.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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