Hyundai Motor workers voted to strike for better pay and working conditions just a year after ending the costliest dispute in the company's history.

Despite appeals from management, labour unions at Hyundai and Kia opted for industrial action, which will begin after a legally-binding period of mediation which typically lasts around 10 days.

Hyundai's union wants a KRW130,500 (US$120) increase in basic monthly salary for workers, a performance-based bonus equivalent to eight month wages and a one-off shared cash payment for members amounting to US$2.4bn – 30% of last year's net profit.

Hyundai has told the union it cannot not afford to meet such demands at a time of heightened competition and slowing growth in overseas markets. It told them: “We've seen a decline in our earnings because foreign brands quickly eat into our domestic market share and the economy at home and abroad remains sluggish."

Last year the union staged 28 partial strikes between July and September whkich resulted in the loss of more than 82,000 vehicles valued at KRW1.7 trillion (US$1.5 bn).

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