Korean Autoworkers Strike Over Beef

SEOUL, South Korea -- Tens of thousands of South Korean autoworkers went on strike Wednesday to oppose resumed U.S. beef imports and the pro-business policies of new President Lee Myung-bak, joining anti-government protests that have raged for weeks.

The walkout came a day after U.S. beef returned to South Korean store shelves for the first time under a much-criticized import deal with Washington, although the sale was limited to one store run by a U.S. beef importer.

"U.S. beef is selling like hotcakes," said Park Chang-gyu, owner of A-Meat store in Seoul, adding that about 400 kilograms of meat were sold Tuesday.

About 55,000 workers at South Korea's largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors, stopped work for two hours, union officials said. An additional 23,000 Hyundai and Kia workers on the night shift planned to do the same later.