SEOUL, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A strike by Renault Samsung Motors union workers prompted the automaker to partially shut down its factory in southeastern South Korea on Friday.
The South Korean affiliate of French automotive brand Renault said it would suspend night shifts at its main plant in Busan to reduce losses.
The move marks Renault Samsung's second partial lockout since last June when it implemented a similar measure in the face of a general strike.
However, the company said the Busan plant will remain open during the day because around 70 percent of its 1,700 union members are not participating in the walkouts.
After a wage deal fell apart, the union started partial strikes late last year to demand an 8.01 percent increase on the basic salary and expansion of other benefits.
"Renault Samsung has chalked up almost $1.5 billion in profits over the past few years. In 2019, its bottom line is estimated at about $150 million," a Renault Samsung union member said. "However, the management tries to adopt various steps just to oppress workers."
Renault Samsung management has said it cannot afford such a big wage hike because of contracting sales.
The automaker saw its 2019 sales plunge 22 percent year-on-year, prompting a wage freeze.
The company said the ongoing strike has cost it about $100 million by disrupting production of more than 6,000 vehicles over the past two weeks.