Hyundai Motor's South Korean workers narrowly approve wage deal

Wed Oct 1, 2014 6:30pm EDT
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SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co's (005380.KS: Quote) unionized workers in South Korea voted in favor of a wage deal by a slim margin, averting more strikes in the automaker's biggest manufacturing base.

A total of 51.5 percent of Hyundai Motor voters approved the preliminary agreement reached on Monday, while 48.1 percent rejected the deal, a union spokesman said on Thursday.

The 47,000-member union resumed a partial strike last week after Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis (012330.KS: Quote) bid $10 billion for a plot of land in Seoul, more than three times its appraised value.

Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest automaker alongside with Kia Motors (000270.KS: Quote), has been hit by strikes in all but four years of its South Korean union's 27-year history.

The latest wage agreement includes bonuses and incentives totaling 8.9 million won, plus payments equivalent to four and a half months' salary - a smaller rise than last year's, the company has said.

The two sides failed to agree on when the automaker will start revamping its wage calculation scheme, a key demand by the union which was at the bone of contention during this year's wage talks.

The vote results on Thursday makes its affiliate Kia Motors (000270.KS: Quote) the only automaker in South Korea which has yet to reach an annual wage agreement with its labor union.

Kia's unionized workers in South Korea continued a partial strike this week, demanding that the automaker count regular bonuses as base wages.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Kia cars are reflected in the Hyundai auto logo at a shipping yard of South Korea's biggest automakers Hyundai Motor Co and sister company Kia Motors at a port in Pyeongtaek July 21, 2014.   REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji