SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) — Kia Motors Corp.’s union has agreed on a tentative wage deal for the year as the coronavirus pandemic continues, the company said Tuesday.

Kia’s 30,000-strong union tentatively accepted the company’s proposals, including 1 1/2 months of merit-based remuneration, 1.2 million won (US$1,080) in special COVID-19 allowance and 1.5 million won in gift certificates per person, instead of freezing wages for the year, the company said in a statement.

The company also agreed to restore the 25-minute extra work system following an eight-hour shift per worker, it said.

The tentative deal will be put up for a vote next Tuesday, the union said.

It is the first time for Kia workers to tentatively agree on a wage freeze in 11 years since 2009 when the financial crisis weighed on vehicle sales.

The tentative deal comes after Kia workers held partial strikes at the carmaker’s domestic plants for 14 working days in the past four weeks, resulting in production losses of 47,000 vehicles.

The union demanded the company raise the monthly basic pay by 120,000 won per person, offer 30 percent of its annual operating profit in performance-based pay and extend the retirement age from 60 to 65, which failed to make it into the potential deal.

Kia’s vehicle sales fell 6.1 percent to 2.39 million vehicles in the January-November period from 2.55 million units a year ago due to weak demand amid the pandemic.

The maker of the K5 sedan and the Sorento SUV has eight plants in Korea — two in Gwangmyeong, three in Hwaseong and three in Gwangju — and seven overseas ones — three in China and one each in the United States, Slovakia, Mexico and India. Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units.

This file photo, taken April 27, 2020, shows Kia Motors’ Sohari plant in Gwangmyeong, south of Seoul. (Yonhap)