SEOUL (Reuters) -- Unionized workers at Hyundai Motor Co. and other automakers said today they planned work stoppages for later this month as part of protests against a U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement.
Last year, Hyundai's union members staged strikes for a total of 33 days as they called for higher wages and better working conditions. Some of the protests were made in opposition to new labor laws and free-trade talks with the United States.
Those actions cost 115,683 units in lost output, or 1.6 trillion won ($1.72 billion), Hyundai estimated.
Members of the Korean Metal Workers' group, which include the auto industry unions, will take turns by region in staging two-hour strikes daily from June 25-27.
All members will hold a four-hour strike on June 28 and a six-hour stoppage on June 29, the metal workers' union said.
"We, as a member, will follow the group's decision," a Hyundai Motor union official said, asking not to be identified.
Workers at Hyundai affiliate Kia Motors Corp., GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. and Ssangyong Motor Co. will join the action, union officials at the companies said. Renault Samsung Motors Inc. does not have a union.
Last year, South Korean automakers' unionized workers voted to bring their company unions under one industry group to strengthening their bargaining power.
Poor labor relations are seen as a major hurdle to Hyundai's target of becoming the world's No.5 automaker by sales volume along with Kia, from the current No. 6.
In January, Hyundai's unionized workers held a partial strike and refused overtime over a bonus dispute.reference