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June 25, 2003

GERMANY/SOUTH KOREA: East German auto unions head for talks; Hyundai union calls strike

Employers and a union for east German industrial workers will resume talks to end a three-week strike over working hours, a dispute that has forced automakers such as BMW and Volkswagen to close plants, Bloomberg News reported.

By bcusack

Employers and a union for east German industrial workers will resume talks to end a three-week strike over working hours, a dispute that has forced automakers such as BMW and Volkswagen to close plants, Bloomberg News reported.

The IG Metall industrial union, Germany’s largest, and negotiators for employers agreed to meet on Friday, Werner Riek, a spokesman for the Gesamtmetall employers’ association, told the news agency on Tuesday. IG Metall has targeted car plants and their suppliers for selective strikes on its demand for the work week in the east to be cut to 35 hours, the same as in the west, Bloomberg News noted.

Industrial unrest in the vehicle industry is not confined to Germany.

In a separate report, Bloomberg News said Hyundai Motor’s labour union has voted to stage a partial strike from Wednesday to Friday to demand higher wages. Out of 35,234 unionised employees who voted, 61% were in favour of the planned strike, union spokesman Kyu-Ho Jang told the news agency. Union workers will walk out of the company’s plants for eight hours on Wednesday and six hours each Thursday and Friday because the union wants an 11% one-year increase in wages, better working conditions and job security for temporary and part-time workers, the Bloomberg News report said.

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