Kia workers to strike again; GM Korea, union accept 2nd contract

General Motors Korea has reportedly offered its workers four million Won in bonuses in 2020


Workers unions in South Korea are trying to stifle worker protests that continue, demanding pay increase, improved work conditions and job security, resisting the agreements between the unions and the company.

At KIA Motors, workers had gone on a partial three-day strike on December, just for four hours each at the Kia plants in Gwangmyeong, Gwangju and Hwaseong.

This strike in 2020 comes after the ones last month, from November 25 to November 27 and early this month, December 1 to 2, and on December 4. Kia management and its branch of the Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU) have held around 15 rounds of meetings this year.

Kia workers have been demanding a 120,000-Won ($ 108) monthly wage increase, a bonus of 30 per cent of the Company’s operating profit, and an extension of the retirement age from 60 to 65. The trade unions and Kia had allegedly reached agreements on wages, bonuses and also production.

The tentative package forced on KIA workers is similar to the one imposed on the Hyundai workers in September. Kia is set to freeze wages and offer ‘performance-based’ bonuses that amounts to arounds 150 per cent of monthly salaries. Kia will also offer 1.2 million Won per worker as part of a COVID-19 package and another 200,000 Won in gift certificates.

General Motors, Korea, and its KMWU branch have agreed to a second tentative contract following workers’ rejection of the first one on December 1. Workers were to vote on the new contract on December 14, with partial strikes taking place since October 30.

It is reported that GM Korea has offered its workers four million Won in bonuses in 2020, instead of ending the 2018 wage freeze imposed by the Company, agreed upon by the workers union. It also intends to drop a lawsuit against the union for damages as a result of strikes, and pay them four million Won in bonuses by early next year. The workers will also be offered a higher discount rate while purchasing General Motors cars.

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