The Korea Herald reports that industrial unrest has intensified at Kia and that the waiting time for certain models is increasing.

The report says that ‘labour activists’ as at Kia Motors yesterday stepped up their claim for a large pay rise by shifting from a four-hour partial daily strike to an eight-hour-a-day walkout.

The Korea Herald says that Kia unionists have engaged in a four-hour-a-day ‘partial strike’ in support of increased pay since June 24. The newspaper report estimates that the action has cost Kia about 79 billion won ($66 million) in lost sales. Lost production is estimated at 6,219 units at the end of last week.

Kia unionists are demanding a monthly pay rise of 128,000 won and a special bonus of 300 percent of monthly salary, compared with the management’s offer of a 78,000 won pay increase and 150 percent bonus payment.

The newspaper adds that the waiting time o the domestic market for certain models has increased as a result of the industrial action; the waiting time for the Sorento SUV has increased to five months and the Carens minivan has increased to four months. Timing is not good for Kia, which is trying to break into export markets with key new models such as the Sorento and Carens.

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Last month, Hyundai Motor (which owns Kia) and its labour union struck a deal to avert a strike that would have dashed hopes of a strike-free World Cup football tournament.
Hyundai Motor agreed to increase salaries by 95,000 won ($77) a month along with annual performance bonuses on top. The union had demanded a monthly pay hike of 128,880 won and 30 percent of net profit as bonuses.