Despite reportedly saying earlier in the week that they were calling off strike action, Reuters reported that unionised workers at Hyundai Motor downed tools on Friday and threatened more walkouts next week to push for an early settlement in talks with management over wages and working conditions.

According to the news agency, the union said in a statement its 39,000 members, representing nearly 80% of the company’s total employees, would stay off the job for at least two-thirds of their usual work hours every day next week.

Reuters said the workers downed tools on Friday in a one-day full strike as they announced on Wednesday. The union had held a number of strikes lasting several hours since late June, seeking higher wages, involvement in management decisions over investments, as well as a 40-hour work week, Reuters noted.

Hyundai Motor spokesman Park Sang-woo told Reuters that plants were left idle on Friday but he would not comment on future plans. Hyundai used to produce about 6,000 vehicles per day.

Reuters added that South Korean labour unions have been stepping up industrial action in the face of public criticism as the economy, Asia’s fourth-largest, entered its first recession since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.