GM Korea, union reach tentative wage deal

SEOUL Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:40pm EDT

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SEOUL (Reuters) - The South Korean unit of General Motors (GM.N) has reached a tentative wage agreement with its labor union, casting the spotlight next on other South Korean carmakers such as Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) and whether they will follow suit.

GM Korea's union executives will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to approve the tentative deal, which may be put to a union vote on Thursday and Friday, a union spokesman said.

The agreement came after factory workers at GM Korea staged a series of partial strikes in July and August, and includes a basic salary increase of 80,564 Korean won ($71.23), a bonus of 5 million won and a one-off payment of 3 million won, among others.

Regarding the most contentious issue of scrapping overnight work, the two sides agreed to test-run a new shift scheme in the first quarter of 2013 and to decide on the time frame for the new system in the second quarter of that year.

GM Korea is one of the U.S. automaker's key Asia production bases, producing a quarter of GM's Chevrolet cars sold globally, and 98 percent of Chevy cars sold in Europe.

GM Korea is the second automaker in South Korea after Ssangyong Motor (003620.KS) to have reached an annual wage deal with its labor union. Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors (000270.KS) are presently locking horns with their unions over salaries and working conditions.

South Korean factory workers at Hyundai Motor have continued a partial strike this week, after staging their first strike in four years on July 13, as wage talks stalled amid disagreements over eliminating overnight shifts and other matters.

($1 = 1131.1000 Korean won)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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