The labor unions of HHI Group’s three shipbuilding companies — Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries — announced on Nov. 22 that they would jointly go on a full-scale strike next month if the management does not come up with a forward-looking proposal regarding wages and collective bargaining agreements.

We have no choice but to fight to correct the distorted wage structure system, including low wages and long working hours, and recover a wage cut made during an industry recession,” the labor unions said.

“It is difficult to meet ship delivery schedules due to a labor shortage in the shipbuilding industry, so a large-scale strike will inevitably cause a production disruption,” a shipbuilding industry insider said.

According to the shipbuilding industry, the labor unions decided to go on a joint strike for four hours on Dec. 6. They also announced that they would go on a rotational strike on Dec. 7 and a full-scale strike on Dec. 13. A union official said, “If the management does not offer a meaningful proposal regarding wages and collective bargaining for this year, we will proceed with the strike as scheduled.”

Unionists of the three companies voted in favor of the strike in October. However, among the three unions, only those of Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries have secured the right to stage a strike. The union of Hyundai Mipo Dockyard has yet wait for the regional labor office to declare termination of the arbitration process to secure the right to go on strike.

“Considering a distorted wage structure such as wage cuts and long working hours due to a long-term slump in the shipbuilding industry, we will normalize the wage structure through wage and collective bargaining,” the three unions say, regarding this year’s wages and collective bargaining

“The management is not improving the distorted wage structure, sticking to the strategy of strengthening employment elasticity through the expansion of foreign worker recruitment,” a labor union official said. “This year’s wage and collective bargaining also are meaningful in normalizing poor wage levels throughout the shipbuilding industry.”

At the moment, the labor and management of the three shipbuilding companies are far from ironing out their differences on wage hikes, so it is highly possible for unionists to go on a joint strike. Therefore, the joint strike is expected to cause serious damage from a production interruption.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News