Strike affects tyre production at 3 Kumho plants

Yesterday's strike cost the tyre maker almost £3 million

Some 3,300 workers at Kumho Tire’s three South Korean factories went on strike yesterday to protest planned changes to the company’s wage structure. The eight-hour strike affected production at the Gwangju, Gokseong and Pyeongtaek plants and is said to have costed the tyre maker an estimated KRW 5.2 billion (£2.8 million) in lost sales.

The Korea Times explains that the origins of the dispute lie in the company’s annual wage talks. Kumho wants to adopt a peak wage system in order to make its plants more competitive, while union representatives demand the peak wage issue remain separate from pay increase negotiations. The adoption of a peak wage system would mean reduced income for workers in exchange for guaranteed employment until retirement.

Kumho has reportedly offered a daily pay increase of KRW 1,900 (£1.03) and a KRW 3 million (£1,600) bonus should the peak wage system be accepted and the retirement age rise from 60 to 61 years, however The Korea Times says unionised workers seek an 8.3 per cent pay rise and performance-based pay for 2014 without any strings attached.

Yesterday’s strike follows a four-day part strike last week. According to Kumho, the previous action cost it KRW 8 billion (£4.3 million) in lost sales.

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