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Kia’s union sues for back wages from 2014 to 2017

Nov 25,2017
Kia Motors’ labor union filed a third lawsuit against the auto company Friday asking for additional wage compensation.

The Hyundai Motor affiliates’ union held a press conference in front of Seoul District Court Friday morning to say it would file a suit asking for unpaid wages from between 2014 and 2017. As there is three-year limitation on claiming unpaid wages, the labor union pre-emptively took the legal action. The lawsuit represents some 26,000 members of the union.

“This third suit was an inevitable choice for 26,651 members of the labor union considering there is three-year limitation on being able to claim back unpaid wages,” the union said in a statement.

“Laborers have the right to claim what’s right ... The company is fighting back saying it will go bankrupt or it has recorded an operating loss in the third quarter, but the real issue is justice,” the statement added.

In August, the Seoul Court ordered Kia Motors to pay its union members back wages of 422.3 billion won ($389.2 million). That was the result of the first lawsuits claiming unpaid wages from between 2008 and 2011 and a second suit for wages between 2011 and 2014. The basis of the claims is a change in the description of a worker’s basic pay and the inclusion of bonuses and other regular payments in that definition. With the change in the definition of basic pay, Kia Motors expected the ruling to cost it 1 trillion won.

After writing off 1 trillion won as one-time expense in the third quarter, Kia Motors reported a net loss for the July-September period of 291.8 billion compared to a net profit of 664.3 billion won in the previous year.

“The write off in the third quarter included costs for the 2014-2017 period, so the third suit doesn’t represent a big change. But the company could appeal,” a Kia Motors spokesman said.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]