Hyundai Motor union workers vote for strike

ULSAN, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) -- Union workers at Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest automaker, voted to go on strike Friday after failing to reach an agreement with management during annual wage negotiations.

According to union leaders, 47,262 workers cast their vote, with 69.68 percent, or 32,931, agreeing to the proposed walkout.

The union said that it will engage the company in last minute "intense negotiations" as required by the country's labor laws, but if no headway is made, the walkout could take place as early as next Friday.

Labor leaders and management have been engaged in wage and collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks since June 3, but zero progress has been made on such critical issues as including regular bonuses as part of standard pay.

In addition, the union has demanded an 8.16 percent, or 159,614 won (US$156.2), monthly increase in wages, and the unconditional raising of the retirement age to 60 without implementing a wage peak system as recommended by the government. It also called for a bonus equal to 30 percent of the previous year's net earnings.

If workers actually do go on strike, the carmaker could find itself unable to capitalize on the rise in demand for new cars this year, particularly in overseas markets.

The company said it aims to produce some 4.83 million units in 2014, with 39 percent, or 1.87 million cars, to be made on the company's home turf.

The company has reported selling 2,876,382 vehicles up until July, a 4.4 percent increase from 2,754,552 cars sold a year earlier.

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