Labor protest halts production at Korea’s third largest auto firm

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Thousands of Kia Motors Corp. workers spilled into the streets today to protest what they called government moves to sell the debt-ridden firm to a South Korean conglomerate.
The walkout by more than 13,000 unionized Kia workers halted production at the country’s third largest automaker, which made 780,000 cars last year — including the Sportage sport-utility vehicle — about one-quarter of them for export.
The strike came a day after a Seoul court placed the bankrupt Kia under receivership, naming an outside manager to figure out how to restructure the company while its assets and debts are frozen.
Thousands of riot police with helmets and shields stood guard but did not prevent the workers from marching. Workers shoved riot police in brief scuffles, but no serious clashes or arrests were reported.