In a concerted move, all labor unions at Hyundai and its 14 affiliates plan a walkout in August if the company doesn’t fulfill their wage increase demands.
Lee Kyung Hoon, union leader at Hyundai Motor, was joined in the stance by 19 other union chiefs from the 14 affiliates in the Hyundai Motor Group. According to Lee, the workers at the largest automaker in the country – including those of Kia Motors – would strike beginning with Aug. 18.
The main issue between the company and the unions is concerning the inclusion of corporate bonuses into the base wage scheme, as per the country’s Supreme Court decision that periodic bonuses and other payments should be a part of the base compensation.
“Chairman Chung Mong Koo should immediately acknowledge bonuses as regular wages,” Lee said. “We’ve heard of the difficult economic situation and of the unfavorable foreign exchange rates, which means that if the company and the union don’t get along we could all perish together.”
According to a forecast of the Korea Employers Federation, if the carmaker’s management concedes to the workers request to lift the base salary, Hyundai could face a 13.8 trillion won ($13 billion) annual hike in overall wage costs – which adds further pressure to the company’s currency concerns.