October 1, 2014 / 10:35 PM / in 3 years

Hyundai Motor's South Korean workers narrowly approve wage deal

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co’s (005380.KS) 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.

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

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) 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), 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) 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

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