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Strikes Repeated in South Korean Automobile Industry
Habitual Strikes at Automakers
Strikes Repeated in South Korean Automobile Industry
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • January 14, 2020, 11:57
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Unionized Kia Motors workers started a five-day partial strike on Jan. 13. The union staged a partial strike on Dec. 18, 19 and 24 last year after wage negotiations failed and started the strike after their talks failed again on Jan. 10. At present, the workers are demanding a salary higher than that of Hyundai Motor Company workers.

In Renault Samsung Motors, 26.8 percent of unionized workers are continuing with their strike. On Jan. 13, 1,752 out of 2,172 executives and staff members were working at its manufacturing facilities and the numbers were 1,264 out of 1,727 when it comes to union members. They are demanding a base pay increase of 120,000 won and the management is refusing to accept it with the company’s sales volume decreasing.

At GM Korea’s plant located in Changwon, temporary subcontractor workers whose contracts expired at the end of last year are demanding reinstatement. SsangYong Motors, which planned to reinstate 46 laid-off workers on Jan. 6, failed to do so due to adverse business conditions. They are currently on a paid instead of unpaid leave of absence, receiving 70 percent of their ordinary wage.

“Strikes have been habitual in South Korean automakers,” said an industry expert, adding, “Unionized workers are deteriorating their already dire conditions with their annual output about to fall below 4 million units and foreign automakers downsizing themselves to invest more in green cars and autonomous vehicles.”