Hyundai Motor union stages 10th partial strike

SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Yonhap) -- Unionized workers of South Korea's largest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. went on a partial strike Thursday to press their demand for a wage hike and other fringe benefits, a company official said.

The walkout by about 46,000 workers, the 10th since mid-August, comes as their leaders prepared to open a new round of negotiations with their management later in the day.

The union calls for, among other things, a special bonus amounting to 30 percent of the company's net profit last year, which was 9 trillion won (US$8 billion).

The union is also asking for a hike of 130,000 won in basic pay and a one-year extension of the retirement age to 61, as well as an allowance of 10 million won each for workers' children who choose to seek employment instead of going to college. Currently, the carmaker provides full tuition to three children of each union member for their high school and college education.

Separately, Kia Motors Corp. said it plans to hold a fresh round of negotiations with its union later in the day to try to work out differences. Kia union calls for a similar pay hike and other benefits. About 30,000 union members plan to walk off the job for several hours on Friday.

Hyundai and its smaller sister company Kia, which together form the world's fifth-largest automaker, have long been plagued by labor disputes.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>