March 6, 2019 / 1:29 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Hankook Tire to raise average wages in Hungary by 13.6 pct

(Adds detail, comments from union)

BUDAPEST, March 6 (Reuters) - Hankook Tire will raise average wages at its Hungarian unit by 13.6 percent from the start of 2019, it said on Wednesday, joining other major car sector companies forced into double-digit pay rises by a shortage of workers.

The South Korean company, which employs 3,300 people at a factory making tyres for cars and smaller trucks near the central Hungarian town of Dunaujvaros, said in a statement that the increase would be retroactive to January 1.

The car sector accounts for nearly a third of manufacturing output in Hungary and is a major driver of exports and economic growth. The unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in the November to January period, slightly up from a record low a month earlier.

Hankook’s announcement follows a two-hour warning strike at the factory by the VDSZ union early on Wednesday to demand an 18 percent increase in salaries.

VDSZ chairman Tamas Szekely said it was too early to tell whether the union or the workers it represents would find the raise sufficient.

He said talks with Hankook would continue later in the day as the union has also demanded an increase in fringe benefits.

German premium car maker Daimler agreed with unions in December wage rises of 22 percent for 2019 and 13 percent for 2020 for most workers.

In January, Audi, a member of the Volkswagen group , agreed with unions an 18 percent wage hike for 2019 after a week-long strike paralysed its giant factory in the western town of Gyor. (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; editing by Jason Neely and Jan Harvey)

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