Kia Motors' trade union leaders this week said workers will hold a strike ballot next week to back demands for higher wages and performance-based bonuses, according to local reports.

The South Korean automaker has already held nine rounds of talks with union representatives this year, but has so far failed to come close to reaching an agreement over remuneration.

Unions are demanding a KRW120,000 (US$106) increase in the monthly basic salary and 30% of the company's annual operating profits to be disbursed as performance-related bonuses.

The union also criticized Kia's decision to make a KRW1.26trn (US$1.1bn) provision in its third quarter accounts to cover recall costs relating to the faulty Theta II gasoline direct injection (GDi) engine and to fund an overhaul of its quality management processes. It was also concerned about the implications on Kia jobs of a new hydrogen fuel-cell and EV parts plant currently being built by Hyundai Mobis.

Kia has performed relatively well this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with global sales falling by just 8.8% to 1,863,966 units in the first nine months of the year from 2,043,780 a year earlier. Third-quarter sales were just slightly lower at 699,402 vehicles from 702,258 units.

See also: Kia's profits drop sharply in Q3 on provisions