Hyundai Motor's labour union picks moderate as new chief

Reuters

SEOUL, Nov 9 (Reuters) - A labour union of South Koreanautomaker Hyundai Motor Co elected as its newpresident Lee Kyung-hoon, widely seen as a moderate, suggestinga period of steadier industrial relations after his predecessorled two strikes in two years.

Lee Kyung-hoon, who led the 46,000-strong union in 2009-11,a rare strike-free period, garnered 52.1 percent of the votes ina poll on Friday, defeating centrist rival Ha Boo-young, who got46.9 percent, results released on Saturday show.

In the first-round election on Tuesday, three candidatesseen by union members and the company as hardliners failed toreach the top two spots following a public backlash over strikesby highly-paid workers, signaling the country's once militantlabour unions are weakening.

Lee, 53, who represents the union's largest faction, vowedto further cut the number of daily production hours to 16 from17 by 2015, sooner than planned.

Last year, cutting working hours to 17 from 20 was among thethorniest issues in annual wage talks, resulting in theautomaker's costliest strike, led by hardliner Moon Yong-moon.The union, founded in 1987, had strikes almost every year butfour.

Lee also pledged to have the company offer 60 shares to eachemployee next year, among incentives equivalent to 30 percent ofthe company's net profit distributed to workers.

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