SEOUL Aug 15 Hyundai Motor's South
Korean workers have voted to strike for a third consecutive year
after annual wage talks broke down, a union spokesman said on
The looming industrial action, which could start as early as
Aug. 22 unless a deal is reached, comes as Hyundai struggles
with a stronger local currency, which hurt its
Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest automaker along with its
affiliate Kia Motors, has been hit by strikes in all
but four of the union's 27-year history, leading to lost
production which the company estimated as worth a total of 14.4
trillion Korean won ($14.1 billion). The automaker usually made
up for the lost production later each year.
A total of 69.7 percent of Hyundai's 47,262 unionised
workers in South Korea, or 79.3 percent of those of who voted,
approved potential strike action.
Since annual wage talks began in early June, Hyundai Motor
and union negotiators have wrangled over a new wage calculation,
which the company says would sharply increase labour costs.
The country's supreme court ruled last year that regular
bonuses should be counted as base wages used to calculate
overtime allowances and other benefits, putting pressure on
businesses to change their wage schemes to reflect the decision.
Hyundai's domestic rivals Ssangyong Motor and
the local unit of General Motors earlier reached wage
deals with their separate unions after they agreed to introduce
the new wage system.
Hyundai Motor's new union boss, Lee Kyung-hoon, is seen as a
moderate, but he has not ruled out industrial action.
Hyundai shares ended down 1.5 percent on Thursday in a flat
(1 US dollar = 1,020.95 Korean won)
(editing by Jane Baird)