Hankook workers end strike for higher wages in Hungary

BUDAPEST, March 22 (Reuters) - A 10-day strike for higher wages at South Korea’s Hankook Tire Co Ltd plant in Hungary ended with an agreement late on Thursday, the company said on Friday.

Labour shortages have led to a series of strikes for higher wages this year in Hungary’s car industry which accounts for nearly a third of the country’s manufacturing output and is a major driver of exports and economic growth.

Hankook employs around 3,300 people at its factory making tyres for cars and smaller trucks near the central Hungarian town of Dunaujvaros.

The company said the VDSZ trade union, which started the strike, had agreed Hankook’s original offer for a 13.6 percent wage rise and adjustments to various bonus payments.

The union said separately that workers would get significantly higher wages as a result of the deal than the company’s original offer.

A strike in January by workers at Audi AG paralysed the German car maker’s factory in Gyor, Western Hungary, and also its main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, for days. Workers eventually secured an 18 percent wage increase.

Hungary’s economy is growing by almost 5 percent annually and its unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, a near record low. (Reporting by Sandor Peto. Editing by Jane Merriman)