Hyundai Strike Ends

MUMBAI, India (AP) -- A strike that stopped Hyundai Motor's production in India for two days was called off Wednesday night after India's top car exporter agreed to consider rehiring dozens of workers dismissed in the wake of violent protests, the company said.

In government-brokered talks, Hyundai agreed to consider reinstating on "humanitarian grounds" 35 employees who were dismissed after earlier protests, the company said in a statement. A committee of company and government officials and workers will together decide on rehiring.

Hyundai had already taken back 20 of the 87 workers fired after protesters damaged property and beat up guards and was reluctant to rehire more lest it set a bad example of impunity.

"The problem is 80 percent OK," K. Thangapandian, vice president of the Hyundai Motor India Employees Union, which led the strike, said in an interview Wednesday.

Thangapandian said 200 workers arrested Tuesday when police entered the factory and broke the strike would likely be released by Thursday evening.

As part of the deal, Hyundai has agreed to reinstate them in their jobs and without punishment, he said.

This is the fourth strike since 2008 at Hyundai's plants in Sriperumbedur, outside the growing auto hub of Chennai, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Persistent labor unrest has pushed Hyundai, which pioneered the idea of using India as a small car production hub, to move some production to Turkey, closer to its major export market of Europe.

The two-day stoppage resulted in losses of about $28 million, Hyundai said.

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