SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – The domestic wage deal between Hyundai Motor Company and its labor union has been settled for the time being, but the burden of personnel expenses continue to stranglehold the automaker, even in its overseas operations.
According to Hyundai and U.S. media reports, production workers at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama received an average annual wage and benefits of $90,400 in 2015, which was higher than payment made to the average Korean worker of 96 million won ($84,512), revealed by Hyundai’s 2015 business report.
The 2015 wages for American employees were an increase from 2014.
According to Hyundai’s 2015 study (conducted by Auburn University), HMMA hired a total of 3,732 employees in 2014, who were paid a total of $260 million, an average of $69,668 per person.
This is the first time that the automaker disclosed wage information of its U.S. production facility.
Hyundai has been refraining from releasing the numbers in detail, claiming that lower wages are paid overseas, over concerns that the information – providing a comparison of salaries in different countries – may lead to employee dissatisfaction and even conflict.
In fact, U.S. employees started questioning the company over wage differences following media reports of Hyundai’s wage deal in Korea, which cited that Korean workers were paid more even though domestic production output falls behind that of American workers.
In response to latest announcement, Hyundai claimed that its wage system differs between Korea and the U.S.
While the company’s business report includes overtime and weekend pay as part of salary for domestic employees, it does not reflect the national pension and health insurance fees that the company partly covers for its workers on the peninsula.
In contrast, the average $90,400 that an American laborer collected in 2015 included various allowances, in addition to health insurance fees, Hyundai said.
“A direct comparison of wages is inappropriate, mainly because U.S. salary incorporates various company benefits such as health insurance fees,” said an official.
If true, it is estimated Korean employees receive some $10,000 more in total wages and benefits.
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)