Hyundai Motor union tentatively OKs wage deal without strike

August 27, 2019

 Unionized workers at Hyundai Motor Co. have tentatively agreed to a wage and collective bargaining agreement, averting a possible strike, the company and the union said Wednesday.

Late Tuesday, Hyundai Motor and its union reached a tentative agreement on wages and working terms for 2019 after holding 22 rounds of negotiations. Hyundai workers have held strikes in each of the past seven years before signing a wage agreement.

In its revised offerings, Hyundai Motor proposed an increase of 40,000 won (US$33) in basic monthly salary, one and a half months of wages plus 3 million won in performance-based pay and a cash bonus of between 2.2 million and 6.2 million won per person, depending on working years, the company said in a statement.

“The union has decided to accept the company’s revised proposals as uncertainties in business environments grow further due to an escalating U.S.-China trade war, Japan’s restrictions on exports (of key materials) to Korea, and slowing demand and restructuring in the global automobile industry,” union spokesman Hong Jae-gwan told Yonhap News Agency over the phone.

Hyundai’s 50,293-member union will vote on whether to accept the revised offerings on Sept. 2, he said.

The union initially demanded an increase of 123,526 won in basic monthly pay, and a bonus package worth 30 percent of the company’s net income for the one-year period that ends in March next year. Hyundai posted a net income of 1.87 trillion won for the 12 months through March 2019.

Hyundai balked at the demands, citing challenges ahead such as the trade battle between the world’s two biggest economies and Japan’s export curbs.

The company reported a net profit of 1.95 trillion won in the January-June period, up 27 percent from 1.54 trillion won a year earlier, helped by a weak won and robust sales of new models like the Palisade sport-utility vehicle.

In the first six months, Hyundai sold a total of 2,210,000 vehicles, slightly up from 2,195,000 a year ago. It has achieved 47 percent of its annual sales target of 4.68 million units this year.

Hyundai’s union has held an industrial action every year since its foundation in 1987 except for 2007 and 2009-2011.