BUSAN, Jun. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — Renault Samsung Motors Corp., the Korean unit of French automaker Renault S.A., said it reached a tentative agreement with its labor union over wages and working conditions Wednesday.
The union members will vote Friday on whether to accept the deal. It will be their second poll since the two sides’ first tentative deal failed to earn approval from the unionists last month.
The agreement came hours after the union returned to the negotiations table, ending an eight-day overall strike after the company imposed a partial lockout at the plant earlier in the day.
Following the union decision, Renault Samsung also said it will withdraw the lockout, and its assembly line will be operated normally with two shifts from Thursday.
The automaker was to suspend night shifts for an unspecified period as its utilization rate at the Busan plant fell below 20 percent of the normal level following the union’s industrial action.
Renault Samsung workers launched partial strikes in April and expanded to full-scale strikes since last week over wages and working conditions.
The company has some 1,800 workers at the plant. While more than 60 percent of them have not been participating in the strikes, the plant wasn’t able to operate as usual since worker absences on one assembly line affect the entire process.
The company and the union began negotiations in June last year to sign a collective bargaining agreement, but both sides’ differences made it difficult to find common ground.
Renault Samsung’s sales plunged 36 percent to 67,158 vehicles in the January-May period from 104,097 units a year earlier.
Renault Samsung produced 210,000 vehicles in the Busan plant last year, but industry insiders said the automaker’s output this year is expected to drop by half.
Renault Samsung produces the SM3 compact, the SM5 midsize sedan, the SM6 upper midsize sedan, the SM7 large sedan, the SM3 Z.E. all-electric car and the QM6 SUV. It also produces Nissan Motor Co.’s Rogue SUV on a manufacturing contract.