Kia workers go on partial strikes as negotiations break down

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Kia workers go on partial strikes as negotiations break down

Unionized workers at Kia Motors began a partial strike Wednesday to demand higher wages and bonuses amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the union said.
The workers in the morning shift walked away from their production lines at 11:40 a.m. in a four-hour strike while those on the evening shift plan to put down their tools at 8:30 p.m. for another four-hour strike.
The union will stage the partial strikes until Friday, after the company and the union failed to narrow differences over wages and performance-based bonuses in 14 rounds of negotiations, union spokesman Hwang Hyo-dong said over the phone.
"Union leaders will hold a meeting early next week to decide on whether to extend the strikes. We will sit down at a negotiating table with the company if there is an offer this week," he said.
The partial strikes affect production at Kia's three domestic plants in Gwangmyeong and Hwaseong in Gyeonggi, and Gwangju.
The 30,000-strong union originally planned to walk out starting Tuesday, but it held the 14th round of negotiations on the same day at the company's request.
The union demanded the company increase the monthly basic pay by 120,000 won ($104) per person, offer 30 percent of its annual operating profit in performance-based pay and extend the retirement age from 60 to 65.
But the company proposed a plan that consisted of one and a half months of merit-based remuneration, 1.2 million won in special Covid-19 allowance, 200,000 won in gift certificates and certain company stocks in lieu of freezing wages for the year, all of which was rejected by the union.
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