Hyundai and Kia workers vote to strike over pay and conditions

Workers at South Korean carmaker Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors have voted to strike for better pay and working conditions - a year after another costly strike ended.

"We don't like to strike. But the company has accepted part of our demand only after we staged strikes," union spokesman Kwon Oh-il told Reuters after unions opted for industrial action, ignoring an appeal from management.

Demands include a 130,500 won increase in basic monthly salary for workers, a performance-based bonus equivalent to eight month wages and a 56.25g gold medal for those with 40 years' service.

Hyundai management had earlier sent a message to unionised workers saying the company could not afford to meet their demands at a time of heightened competition and slowing growth in overseas markets.

"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," the message said.

Workers walked out for four months last year, costing some 1.7 trillion won in lost production.

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