South Korean workers at car makers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have agreed to go on strike for higher wages. This decision follows extensive strikes last year.
AAP reports that Hyundai workers are asking for a 130,500 won ($A132) increase in the basic monthly salary for workers, as well as a performance-based bonus which would equate to eight month wages and a one-off shared cash payment to the value of $A2.65 billion.
In accordance with South Korean law, the industrial action cannot start immediately but can only follow a mediation period of around 10 days.
In a message to workers, Hyundai management attempted to avert the industrial action. Part of the message read - "We've seen a decline in our earnings because foreign brands quickly eat into our domestic market share and the economy at home and abroad remains sluggish."
Last year there 28 were partial strikes at the plants. These caused production to drop by 82,000 vehicles.
According to The South China Morning Post, Hyundai has South Korea’s largest workers' guild and the decision to strike signals a resurgent militancy in the country’s labour movement. In 2011, 429 labour days were lost to industrial action. That figure jumped to 933 in 2012.
Back in 1993, the Bank of Korea cited industrial action at Hyundai as one of the main reasons for it to lower its gross national product estimate.