An ongoing nationwide strike by union workers, including those in the car industry, has cost the South Korean economy 102.5 billion won (about $US86.4 million) in lost output so far, an official at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy told Dow Jones Newswires on Friday.

Three car makers, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Ssangyong Motor, have seen a combined 100.1 billion won in production losses and were hit hardest by the strike that began Wednesday, the official reportedly added.

Dow Jones said thousands of South Korean car, metal, textile and small electronics company workers walked off their jobs for eight hours on Wednesday and about six hours on Thursday, demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

Export-related losses are estimated at $43 million, with car makers seeing $42 million in losses, the official told the news agency, whose report added that losses at the companies are expected to mount as the partial strike continued on Friday.

Citing an official at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Dow Jones said the workers will temporarily end the strike on Saturday and will then work as normal until Tuesday.

Dow Jones noted that KCTU is South Korea’s second largest umbrella labour group and is made up of the country’s 966 labour unions at car, metal, construction, chemical and public transportation companies.

However, the striking unions under KCTU, which have yet to reach an agreement with management on their demands, plan to launch a full-time general strike from Wednesday, Dow Jones added.