Hyundai Motor meets workers’ union today after boycott over wage

Sharon Cho
Bloomberg News

Hyundai Motor Co.’s management is meeting workers Sunday to resolve differences over wage demands after losing two days of extra weekend shifts to a boycott.

Management plans to unveil its proposals to workers during two days of meetings starting today, said Hwang Ki Tae, the spokesman for the union. Workers are demanding that bonuses be counted as part of their base wages.

“The union will decide what action it will take next, following the talks,” Hwang said Saturday. Hyundai Motor doesn’t have “any comments” on what the company is offering to its workers on wages, it said in an e-mailed response to a Bloomberg News query.

While workers at South Korea’s biggest carmaker will do their regular eight-hour shifts, they have decided not to take on any additional duties during the wage talks, Hwang said. The strike on Aug. 23 was estimated to have cut sales by 70 billion won ($69 million), Yonhap News reported, citing an unidentified company official. The company declined to provide a figure.

The strike may cut output at a time when a strengthening won erodes profits from overseas for the automaker. The action is likely to have a “negative impact on investor sentiment,” said Lee Jin Woo, a Seoul-based fund manager at KTB Asset Management Co., which oversees about $7.9 billion.

The union said it had staged a partial strike on Aug. 22 as a “warning” and will refuse extra shifts in the future, according to a posting on its website.

South Korea’s won has strengthened 3.2 percent against the dollar this year, among the biggest gainers of 11 Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Hyundai Motor’s shares have dropped 5.1 percent in 2014.