Labor unions of Kia and Hyundai announced they will go on strike Friday, July 13th, for the first time in three years, demanding shorter working hours and higher wages.
This afternoon unionists at the two car makers will stop working for four hours, the first strike since 2009. The union announced that over 31,000 workers voted on Wednesday, July 11th, to stop work on Friday. This means 71% of the total of 45,000 members. This walkout is part of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union strike, which is the largest industrial guild of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions. A second strike is planned for July 20th.
The unions representing Hyundai and Kia declared that their demands include improvement of the 12-hour work shifts and a wage increase of 150,000 won (US$130) per month. They also added that the company was not sincere in its negotiations, although Kia and Hyundai officials declared they have tried to continue the talks hoping to avoid a strike. The walkout will cost Hyundai 88 billion won (US$76.4 million), this means around 4,300 vehicles and Kia 47 billion won, 2,700 vehicles.