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Renault Samsung’s unionized labor to stage strike over wage dispute

The labor union of Renault Samsung Motors is set to stage a partial strike Thursday, its first strike in four years, in a move that could lower the carmaker’s chances of renewing its contract on production of the Nissan Rogue sport utility vehicle next year, industry insiders said Wednesday.

Ahead of the Chuseok holiday last month, the union held a vote, and 85.1 percent agreed to stage a strike after failing to reach a consensus in wage negotiations with the company.

The union is pushing for a 100,667 won ($89.88) raise in the base wage, an additional 20,133 won for self-development and special incentives of 3 million won, among other demands. However, the company has refused, citing this year’s poor performance.


“It seems like the union is taking a strong position after witnessing GM’s shutting down of a plant (in Korea) earlier this year, and on the belief that the labor-friendly Moon administration will have its back. Due to union-company risks, the local unit could end up losing the contract for the production of the Nissan Rogue next year,” said Lee Ho-geun, an automotive professor at Daeduk University.

Exports of vehicles produced at its Busan plant, largely made up of the Rogue and QM6 SUV, amount to more than the number of vehicles sold here.

According to figures from the company, Renault Samsung exported 109,552 units, including 82,235 units of the Rogue and 25,715 units of the QM6, between January and September this year, about 1.7 times more than the 62,343 vehicles sold in the local market in the same period.

As Renault Samsung CEO Dominique Signora, who took the post on Nov. 1 last year, wraps up a dismal year, the carmaker is showing no signs of recovery despite promotions offered on key models.

Its combined sales here and overseas tumbled 44.3 percent on-year to 14,582 units in September, data from the company showed.

“We are regretful of the status quo, as we have smoothly sealed wage talks for three years in a row. We will try our best to conclude negotiations based on principles,” said a spokesperson of Renault Samsung Motors. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (