Korean Hyundai Autoworkers Negotiate a Potential 12% Increase

A preliminary agreement was reached between Hyundai Motor and its union after intense wage negotiations. They settled on a 4.8% wage hike.

The union and Hyundai also negotiated on a performance bonus, special incentives, and a bonus for meeting targets. This has led to a significant increase in annual salaries compared to the previous year.

The 2023 wage and collective bargaining agreement includes 15 company stocks and gift vouchers valued at the equivalent of $188 USD. The stocks are worth approximately $2,105 USD based on the closing price on Sept. 12.

The topic of extending the retirement age has been put on hold. The union proposed raising it from 60 to 64, but the company is hesitant due to public sentiment. Both sides will re-evaluate the issue next year.

Hyundai Motor’s negotiations have been criticized for neglecting to address the attrition of essential research staff. This has led to a spike in employees leaving for other companies. Achieving a balance between retaining researchers and meeting production goals remains a challenge for Hyundai.

According to Hyundai Motor’s 2022 business report, the average domestic car sale price has seen a significant increase of over 20% in just two years. This has raised concerns among consumers about potential future price hikes and the impact on new car affordability.

Car prices have significantly increased over the past six months, with Hyundai Motor’s average domestic car price jumping by approximately 1.6 million won ($1,200 USD). This surge is attributed to various factors such as the sales of high-margin models, electric vehicles, RVs, and the impact of the Ukraine war on raw material costs.

The successful negotiations between Hyundai Motor and its union are expected to have a positive impact on the broader industrial sector.

Kia’s union is currently at an impasse, demanding various improvements including a wage increase, performance bonus, shorter work week, paid lunch breaks, and an extended retirement age. The union members have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike.

Several major companies in South Korea, including Hyundai Mobis, Kumho Tire, and Hyundai Steel, have recently experienced strikes by their employees. These strikes have resulted in work stoppages and disruptions to production.