Wage Talks Begin for Hyundai Motor image

On Thursday, May 10th, Hyundai Motor and its staff labor union will begin annual wage talks.

The union’s requests include temporary workers getting full-time jobs and eliminating the overnight shift. Everybody is curious whether Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors will manage to avoid strikes during wage talks for the fourth consecutive year, taking into consideration the fact that the company’s inventory is quite low due to the strong demand and tight supply.

The labor union calls on the world’s fifth-biggest automaker along with Kia Motors to offer temporary workers full-time jobs, which will increase the company’s annual costs by about $72 million. Since 2008 subcontracted workers account for 24% of the total production workers, their monthly wages being 78% of what full-time workers earn.

“This is not an excessive demand, considering Hyundai’s (strong) business performance,” the union said in its newspaper.

The company does not agree with this request since temporary employees are needed to enhance labor flexibility, nor does it agree with eliminating overnight shift work. The union wants the introduction of two shifts from morning to around midnight, saying that overnight shifts undermine employees’ quality of life and impose health risks. Other requests include wage rise of 8.4% and bonuses equivalent to 30% of the company’s 2011 net profit, which was up 35% to 8.1 trillion won.

“It is a tricky matter. We will seek to reach an agreement through negotiation,” said a top Hyundai executive .