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July 21, 2021

GM Korea workers strike, Hyundai agrees wage increase

Auto worker pay negotiations in South Korea are delivering mixed results.

By Graeme Roberts

GM Korea union workers have launched a partial strike at the three vehicle assembly plants to demand higher wages, the company announced.

A GM spokesman told local reporters assembly workers had downed tools at its two plants in Bupyeong, near Seoul, and at its Changwon factory on the south coast.

The plants have combined annual production capacity of 630,000 vehicles while global sales declined by 7% to 154,783 units in the first half of 2021.

The strike follows a reported 13 rounds of wage negotiations since May with the two parties so far failing to reach a compromise.

The union is demanding a KRW99,000 (US$86) increase in the basic monthly wage plus KRW8,690m in performance-related pay and bonuses per worker.

It also insisted on being told about future vehicle production plans for the plants.

GM Korea has so far offered a basic pay increase of KRW26,000 and KRW4m respectively. The company also said it was unable to share its production plans.

Meanwhile, Hyundai said it had reached a tentative agreement with unions for a KRW75,000 monthly basic pay rise, an annual bonus worth two months’ salary and KRW5.8m in performance benefits.

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