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Kia Motors Unionists to Start Partial Strike on Dec. 18
Tentative Wage Agreement Voted Down
Kia Motors Unionists to Start Partial Strike on Dec. 18
  • By Michael Herh
  • December 18, 2019, 13:14
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The Kia Motors labor union is set to stage a strike following the unionists' rejection of a tentative agreement with management on collective bargaining and wage.

The Kia Motors labor union is set to stage a strike after a tentative agreement with management on collective bargaining and wage was voted down on Dec. 13.

The labor union said on Dec. 17 that it will hold a partial strike from Dec. 18. On Dec. 18, the day shift and night shift groups will walk away for two hours. On Dec. 19, they will loiter for four hours. If labor-management negotiations are not resumed by Dec. 20, the strike will be extended. Unionists also decided to refuse overtime work beginning Dec. 18.

The labor and management of Kia Motors signed a provisional agreement at the 16th round of negotiations on Dec. 10, but the agreement was rejected by unionists in a vote on Dec. 13. Wage negotiations at Kia Motors have been concluded at a level similar to that of Hyundai Motor. But the provisional agreement did not include the incentives (2 million won to 6 million won) that were provided to Hyundai Motor workers.

The provisional agreement included a 40,000 won increase in basic salaries, a 150 percent performance bonus and 3.2 million won in incentives (including a 200,000-won gift certificate for traditional markets). Hyundai Motor's agreement between the labor and management concluded in September included a raise of 40,000 won in basic salaries, a 150-percent performance bonus, three million won in lump sum and a 200,000-won gift certificate for traditional markets, 2 million won to 6 million won in incentives to secure future wage competitiveness and legal stability. At first glance, Hyundai Motor’s agreement gives its unionist more benefits than Kia Motors'. But industry analysts say that unpaid ordinary wages which were the biggest issue between the labor and management of Hyundai Motor this year were reflected in the company’s wage and collective agreement in the name of incentives to secure future wage competitiveness, so taking this point into consideration, the two agreements are similar.

The partial strike has been putting both the new union leadership and the management on the hot seat. The union leadership reached a tentative agreement within two weeks of negotiation resumption but failed to gain confidence from its members. The management is likely to rack their brains to come up with a proposal that will not exceed Hyundai Motor’s agreement. It remains to be seen whether the labor and management of Kia Motors will be able to resolve the conflict by hammering out a second agreement as soon as possible.