Kia Motors Reaches Wage Pact With Union Workers to End Strikes

Kia Motors Corp.’s union workers in South Korea approved a wage agreement that ends a three-week strike that cost the company an estimated 414 billion won ($381 million) in lost production.

A Sept. 12 agreement between labor representatives and Kia to raise the monthly base salary by 97,000 won was approved in a vote today by the company’s 34,000 guild members, according to a mobile-phone text message from the union.

The accord ends a walkout that the company estimates cost 23,271 vehicles in lost production as of Sept. 11, Kia said in an e-mail yesterday. The company, together with biggest shareholder Hyundai Motor Co., is grappling with increased competition as a weaker yen gives Japanese carmakers an edge in the U.S.

Kia was unchanged at 67,000 won at the close in Seoul trading today. The benchmark Kospi index fell 0.5 percent.

Workers will also get bonuses equivalent to 350 percent of monthly salary plus a one-time payment of 5 million won, according to a Sept. 12 statement on the union’s website.

South Korea’s second-largest automaker estimates labor disputes have caused missed production of almost 400,000 vehicles and lost sales worth 6 trillion won from 2002.

Worldwide, Kia sold 1.9 million vehicles in the first eight months of 2013, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing on Sept. 2. The automaker will probably report a third-quarter profit of 923 billion won, according to the average of 26 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Earlier this week, union members at Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, agreed to end a three-week strike that cost more than 1 trillion won in lost output after they accepted the carmaker’s proposal to increase wages.

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