Hyundai Motor Group, which owns Hyundai and Kia brands, starts a new reduced-hours working system Monday, putting an end to the Korean auto giant's 45-year-old overnight shift.
Following an agreement between labour and management last year, Hyundai has replaced the previous practice of two 10-hour shifts with two shifts of eight or nine hours each.
According to a statement published Sunday, daily working hours at Hyundai and Kia factories will be shortened from 10 to 8.5 hours per person, which means an 11 per cent decrease in total annual working hours.
Under more detailed operational plans of the new system, the carmaker has introduced new facilities and increased output per hour to make up for potential production cuts.
Hyundai and Kia were expected to suffer reduced outputs of 185,000 and 179,000 units, respectively. But labour unions of the two have agreed to elevate output per hour and work extra hours flexibly if necessary.
"Production capacity will remain the same both at Hyundai and Kia factories despite the new system. Our suppliers also have no concerns about cuts in orders," said a Hyundai official.
The new system is expected to affect some 50,000 workers at six Hyundai and Kia factories nationwide in Korea and their 200,000 family members, the company said.