Strike Threatens Korea's Hyundai

Unrest in the auto industry isn't just a U.S. problem. The month-old strike by 26,000 workers at Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. in South Korea has reached the point that the government is appealing to both sides for a negotiated settlement. At issue: spreading layoffs or firings -- a taboo in Korean culture, where lifetime employment is expected. The strike began over 6,100 workers who were fired because of slumping domestic car sales. Without a settlement soon, there could be a violent confrontation. The South Korean government has increased the number of riot police near Ulsan, where the plant is located. (Union-police confrontations in the past have been violent.) What's more, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions says more of its members will go on strike if Korean police raid Hyundai plants. The strike has cost Hyundai $535 million to date -- one-third of what the United Auto Workers strike in the U.S. cost General Motors Corp.

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