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South Korea's Kia Union to Strike Over Wage Disputes

Unionized workers at Kia Motors, South Korea's No. 2 auto maker, said on Tuesday they plan to stage work stoppages over wage disputes.

Members of Kia's union will suspend production for eight hours on Tuesday and another eight hours on Friday, the union said.

"We will stage a four-hour strike during both the day and night shift today and plan to hold a similar action on Friday," said Park Duck-je, a Kia union spokesman.

Strike plans for Wednesday and Thursday were dropped for negotiations with the company, Park said.

Last month, Kia's union members approved a plan to hold eight-hour strikes from Tuesday to Friday as they demand an 8.9 percent rise in basic salaries and job security.

A Kia spokesman said this week's strikes would cost the auto maker an estimated 4,100 vehicles, or 59.6 billion won ($64.69 million), in lost output.

The labor action comes after workers at Kia and affiliate Hyundai Motor held up production last week to protest a free trade pact between South Korea and the United States.

Poor labor relations are regarded as a major obstacle to Hyundai and Kia's target of becoming the world's No.5 automaker by sales volume.

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