Hyundai Heavy Sees First Strike in 18 Years

Unionised workers at South Korea’s shipbuilding giant Hyundai Heavy Industries staged their first industrial action in almost two decades this Thursday when they walked out from a scheduled one hour of extra work after their regular eight-hour shift, the AFP reports.

The union announced the walkout, which was supported by about 18,000 union members representing 70% of the workforce, after talks over wage dispute collapsed last Wednesday.

“After today’s walkout, we will step up our action and may launch a strike involving all our members if the company continues to reject our demands,” Park Kyung-Soo, a union leader, reportedly told AFP.

The wages talks failed after the company refused to meet the union’s demand for a 6.5% increase in basic pay and a one-off bonus amounting to 10 weeks’ wages.

Hyundai Heavy argued the demands were unrealistic seeing that the company posted a USD 1.7 billion operating loss for the first nine months of 2014, also stating that an all-out strike would set the company back an estimated USD 90 million in production losses.

World Maritime News Staff