July 2, 2018 / 6:09 PM / 3 months ago

Hyundai Motor's S.Korean union votes to strike for 7th year in a row

SEOUL, July 3 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor’s unionised workers in South Korea voted to go on strike over stalled wage talks, adding to the automaker’s troubles as it grapples with dwindling profits.

The union, which has voted to strike every year for the past six years, said on Monday that 73.87 percent of its 44,782 members approved the strike action, adding that union negotiators would meet on Tuesday to decide plans for walkouts.

This year, the union is demanding a 5.3 percent increase in a basic monthly wage and a performance pay totalling 30 percent of the automaker’s 2017 net profit.

The union, which started this year’s talks on May 3, walked out of the negotiations in late June, after the company proposed modest wage increases and bonuses citing declining profit and potential U.S. tariffs.

Complicating the talks, Hyundai Motor in June submitted a letter of intent to consider investing in a proposed contract car manufacturing plant in the southwestern city of Gwangju, which triggered a backlash from its union worried about job security and lower wages.

“Hyundai Motor’s union will participate in talks when there are requests from the management,” the union said in a statement.

“We have not been able to narrow differences in key issues, making it difficult to reach a preliminary deal easily,” it said.

Hyundai Motor did not have any immediate comment.

Hyundai Motor, the world’s fifth-biggest automaker together with affiliate Kia Motors, has been hit by strikes in all but four years since the union was formed in 1987.

Hyundai Motor shares fell 21 percent this year, lagging the wider market’s 8 percent decline. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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