SEOUL, Sept 26 – Tens of thousands of unionised workers at South Korea’s Hyundai Motor staged their first full strike on Monday for more than a decade after negotiations over a wage increase stalled. Nearly 50,000 workers at Hyundai Motor’s three plants across the country – including the main one in the southern city of Ulsan – walked off the job throughout Monday, said a spokesman for its labour union.
The day-long stoppage is the first full strike at the company since 2004. The workers would also stage a six-hour partial strike from Tuesday to Friday, the union spokesman said. Hyundai’s union has staged partial strikes every year since 2012, including nearly 20 such stoppages this year, demanding higher wages and better benefits.
The latest demands from workers include an wage increase of 7.2% as well as bonuses for employees that would in total be worth 30% of last year’s net profit. Hyundai is South Korea’s biggest automaker and, along with its smaller affiliate Kia, forms the world’s fifth-largest carmaking group.
But it has struggled in recent years due to currency swings and slumping sales in emerging markets including China. Hyundai has reported a drop in net profit for 10 consecutive quarters, most recently the second quarter of this year. The firm has estimated the financial losses from the series of strikes staged so far this year at more than two trillion won (RM7.46 billion). — AFP