Hyundai Motor again failed to reach an agreement with its striking union at talks on Wednesday over wage rises and other key issues, Dow Jones reported. However, the two sides agreed on some minor issues and narrowed their differences on the wage rise, the company and the union said, according to the report.

"Management came up with a higher wage hike rate at the latest meeting but the proposal is still far below our demand. It is not acceptable yet," the union said in a statement cited by Dow Jones.

Dow Jones noted that, in a statement, Hyundai said production losses from the strike, which began on June 27, amount to over 1 trillion won so far.

The management and union next plan to hold talks on Thursday or early Friday, their 26th meeting since talks began on April 18 to discuss wages and other union demands, Dow Jones added.

"Hyundai Motor is doing its best to settle the dispute this week as we are getting short of inventories and the company is scheduled to close the plants next week for the summer holiday," company spokesman Jake Jang told Dow Jones.

Dow Jones said the Hyundai Motor union, comprising 39,000 of the firm's total 50,000 employees, wants an 11.01% increase on basic wages and bonuses.

On Wednesday, the report said, Hyundai Motor suggested raising annual wages by 8.4%, in addition to an incentive bonus worth up to 200% of annual wages and a 100% one-time bonus. The company had previously offered to raise wages by 4%, the report added.

Jang told Dow Jones that, in addition to the production losses, Hyundai Motor will likely face a delivery problem, particularly for overseas suppliers, if the strike continues beyond this week. He reportedly added that Hyundai has managed to fill new export and home market vehicle orders in a timely fashion until now because it has sufficient inventory.

Among other key issues pending is compensation for reduced wages due to the planned introduction of a five-day working week system which the government wants in place by 2007, Dow Jones added.

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