Hyundai Motor union stages first full strike in 12 years

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:09am EDT
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By Hyunjoo Jin

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor's South Korean labor union staged its first full nationwide strike in 12 years on Monday over stalled wage talks, putting the automaker's earnings and sales targets at risk.

The full-day walkout came after a series of partial stoppages since July at the automaker's factories across South Korea, its biggest manufacturing base which produces nearly 40 percent of its vehicles sold globally last year.

The disruption, led by union boss Park You-ki, has led to lost production of 114,000 vehicles worth 2.5 trillion won ($2.26 billion) as of Monday, the biggest strike-related output loss for the automaker in terms of value of vehicles.

The union plans to stage a partial strike for the remainder of this week and stoppages could continue into next week depending on the company's response, union spokesman Jang Chang-yeal said.

"This year's strike is lasting longer than expected. The third-quarter earnings should disappoint," Samsung Securities auto analyst Eim Eun-young said, also citing weak domestic demand.

Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest automaker along with Kia Motors, said in a statement it was "obviously disappointed" with any halt in production and was continuing to work with the union to resolve the dispute.

Hyundai Motor shares ended down 1.1 percent at 140,500 won, compared with a 0.3 percent fall on the broader market.

Hyundai Motor's unionized workers in South Korea last month overwhelmingly voted down a tentative wage deal which was less generous than last year's package.   Continued...

A worker fixes the Hyundai logo on a vehicle at a plant of Hyundai Motor in Asan, south of Seoul, February 9, 2012.  REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/File Photo