Kia to hire 1,300 of its contractors’ workers

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Kia to hire 1,300 of its contractors’ workers

Kia Motors will directly hire 1,300 employees at its contractors by next year in response to the Moon Jae-in administration’s goal of reducing the number of contract workers, the carmaker announced on Thursday.

If it completes the transition, Kia Motors will have directly hired all contracted workers at its factories. Since 2015, Korea’s No. 2 carmaker has already directly hired 1,087 employees of its contractors as of this June.

“The latest agreement between management and the labor union lives up to the current administration’s initiative on [improving the work environment for] contract workers,” the company said in a written statement Thursday. “The management and the union preemptively approached the issue and came out with a solution.”

The agreement, which was made at Kia Motors’ Sohari factory in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi, on Wednesday comes two weeks after the Ministry of Labor announced that it is considering mediating the employment issue between Kia Motors and its contracted workers. Until recently, Hyundai Motor Group avoided negotiating directly with contracted workers, as it already had its hands full dealing with its permanent employees.

In July, however, a committee dedicated to reforming unfair administrative issues at Ministry of Labor advised the ministry to resolve an illegal dispatch of workers issue at Hyundai Motor Group. In response, the labor ministry recently told the carmaker to directly negotiate with the contracted workers at its company.

Kia Motors’ bigger affiliate, Hyundai Motor, has already been working on the issue since 2017. In 2017, the carmaker directly hired some 6,000 employees from its subcontractors. From 2018 to 2021, the carmaker also promised to directly hire an additional 3,500 employees.

“The latest agreement will put an end once and for all to the issue of contractors’ employees at Kia Motors,” said an official from the carmaker.

In 2015, Kia Motors’ contract workers’ unit of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union sued Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo and Kia Motors CEO Park Han-woo for violating regulations on dispatched workers, but the case has not been decided yet.

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