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Hyundai Motor, union fail to agree on wage hike

| Thursday, July 24, 2003

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Hyundai Motor Co. boosted its pay offer Wednesday but was still unable to come to an agreement with striking workers on wages and other key issues.

However, South Korea's biggest carmaker and the union said they were able to agree on some minor issues and narrowed their differences on the wage rise.

The two sides expect to meet today or early Friday. That will be their 26th meeting since talks began April 18 to discuss wages and other union demands. The strike began June 27.

"Management came up with a higher wage hike rate at the latest meeting but the proposal is still far below our demand. It is not acceptable yet," the union said in a statement.

The Hyundai Motor union, comprising 39,000 of the firm's total 50,000 employees, is demanding the company hike basic wages by 11 percent. It also wants bonuses.

Yesterday, Hyundai Motor suggested raising wages by 8.4 percent, up from its earlier offer of a 4 percent hike. It is also offering bonuses.

"We offered a very exceptional salary package, strongly hoping to end the dispute as soon as possible," said Hyundai Motor in a statement.

Hyundai said production losses from the strike amount to over 1 trillion won ($847 million) so far. Hyundai Motor will likely face a delivery problem, particularly for overseas suppliers, if the strike continues beyond this week, said company spokesman Jake Jang.

Hyundai Motor has managed to settle new overseas and domestic auto orders in a timely fashion until now because it has sufficient inventory, he said.

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