ULSAN, Sept. 26 (Korea Bizwire) – Unionists of Hyundai Motor Co. went on their first full strike in 12 years Monday after rejecting a previously offered compromise on wage hikes.
Assembly lines at the nation’s largest automaker were halted at 6:45 a.m., the start of the morning shift. The last time that the Hyundai union went on a full strike was in 2004.
The union and management had sat down for 26 rounds of negotiations, with the last talks held Friday. Union members have ramped up pressure through 19 days of partial strikes so far this year, which the management said cost the firm 2.23 trillion won (US$2.02 billion) from lost production of 101,400 cars.
Union leaders said a daily strike of six hours will continue throughout this week, except for the day when negotiations are held with the company.
The two sides had reached a tentative agreement on Aug. 24 that would have raised the workers’ monthly wages by 58,000 won plus a bonus of 350 percent and 3.3 million won in cash for each worker. The management also withdrew its demand for a wage peak system to be introduced, which had been one of the most contentious barrier in the talks.
The compromise was rejected by unionists with 78.05 percent of the nearly 50,000 members voting against it.
“Substance, not time, matters in the next tentative agreement,” the union said. “The management needs to provide more proposals.”
The management accused the union of breaking trust by discarding the earlier compromise, calling the day’s strike “disappointing.”
“Unionists should realize that the strike causes damage not only to Hyundai Motor but to the numerous company subcontractors and the local economy,” it said.