Kia Motors’ union in South Korea approves tentative labour deal

SEOUL (CNA) – South Korean workers for Kia Motors have agreed to a freeze in base salary for the first time in 11 years under a preliminary deal with the automaker following 16 rounds of negotiations, a union official said yesterday.

Instead of a raise in base salary, each unionised worker would receive a one-time bonus of 150 per cent of their monthly base pay, as well as an incentive worth KRW1.20 million and a gift card worth KRW1.30 million won, the official said.

Kia also offered to restore a 25-minute overtime pay system which was scrapped in 2017, but it rejected proposals to raise the retirement age by five years to 65.

Union members had voted in favour of the preliminary labour deal, the union official said. The vote came after union negotiators reached a tentative agreement with Kia Motors last week.

The union said in a statement that about 58.6 per cent of members approved the salary agreement, while about 42.3 per cent rejected the terms. The two sides have had 16 rounds of negotiations since August and workers have staged several partial strikes since November 25, costing the automaker about 30,000 vehicles in lost production, according to analysts’ estimates.