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Kia Motors loses nine-year wage lawsuit

Aug. 20, 2020 - 12:50 By Shin Ji-hye
Kia Motors union members hold a press conference in front of the Supreme Court in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Kia Motors has lost a nine-year wage lawsuit filed by workers as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the employees on Thursday. The automaker has to pay about 50 billion won ($42 million) to its 3,521 union members.

In 2011, about 27,000 employees of Kia Motors filed a lawsuit claiming that overtime, night, holiday and annual leave allowances should be recalculated after including regular bonuses, daily expenses and lunch expenses in ordinary wages.

The workers claimed around 1 trillion won, including the delayed interests of 433 billion won, was unpaid to them.

The court’s first trial ruled that regular bonuses and lunch expenses should be included in ordinary wages, ordering the firm to pay about 422.3 billion won, including interest. In the second trial, the ruling was made to pay 422.2 billion won, down about 100 million won.

However, after the second trial’s ruling, as labor and management agreed over ordinary wages, most of the workers dropped their lawsuits and only 3,521 workers appealed to the Supreme Court.

Upon the Supreme Court’s ruling, Kia Motors is estimated to pay around 50 billion won to the 3,521 workers with a simple calculation.

The Supreme Court said, “(Considering the given circumstances,) it is difficult to conclude that the case results in grave management difficulties or the existence of the company.“

By Shin Ji-hye (