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Hyundai Motor labor relations chief quits after March stoppages

Hyundai Motor's Vice Chairman Kim Eok-jo presides over the annual general meeting of the automaker in Seoul March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong
Hyundai Motor's Vice Chairman Kim Eok-jo presides over the annual general meeting of the automaker in Seoul March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co's <005380.KS> vice chairman in charge of labor relations, Kim Eok-jo, has quit after disputes with workers this month which cost the South Korean automaker 270 billion won ($243.14 million) in lost production, the firm said on Monday.

Its labor union refused to work over the weekend of March 16 and 17, the second consecutive weekend stoppage, as it locked horns with the automaker over new production schedules which have eliminated overnight work.

The union wants the world's fifth biggest carmaker to make up for wage cuts stemming from reduced weekend working hours, a call rejected by the management. Hyundai said it was unable to produce 13,000 vehicles during the two weekends in March.

The 62-year-old Kim, who cited "personal reasons" for his resignation, lasted only one year in the job, underlining troubled labor relations at Hyundai's South Korean plants, which supply 43 percent of the vehicles it sells globally.

The new working system is expected to reduce Hyundai's production in South Korea, adding to troubles for the automaker which is already struggling with limited global capacity.

($1 = 1110.4500 Korean won)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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