Hyundai Heavy Union Begins Series of Walkouts

An earlier Hyundai Motor strike. The unions for Hyundai Heavy and Hyundai Motor are striking jointly. (file image)

By MarEx 2016-07-19 20:55:07

Unionized workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries have voted to launch a partial strike of four hours a day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week.

The strike parallels a labor action at Hyundai Motor – the first time in over two decades that both of the former units of Hyundai Group have had a simultaneous strike (Hyundai Motors and Hyundai Heavy spun off as separate entities in 2000-2001). The car and shipbuilding unions will hold a joint rally on Wednesday in Ulsan.

The unions are striking for different reasons: "The strike of Hyundai Motor’s union is against the failure of the wage deal and for the national chaebol reform whereas the strike of Hyundai Heavy Industries is against the company’s lack of sincerity for the wage deal and an attempt to deter the restructuring plan,” said the two unions in a joint statement. The Hyundai Motor union is seeking a seven percent raise and a 30 percent bonus. 

The Hyundai Heavy walkout reportedly consisted of 700 support employees, and HHI said that it caused minimal disruption. At least one union representative agreed. “In the actual shipbuilding scene, there are three to four times more workers from supplying companies than union members, so even if all of the union members walk out, manufacturing facilities will run fine,” an HHI union employee told Korea Joongang Daily. 

Separately, the Korea Herald reports that one worker was killed in a fall from scaffolding on Tuesday afternoon at Hyundai Heavy. He was working on a project for Statoil. The fatality is the eigth at Hyundai and its related yards so far this year. 

In good news for Hyundai, New Zealand's Ministry of Defense said Monday that it has approved the purchase of a new $350 million fleet replenishment oiler from HHI. The ice-class, winterized auxiliary vessel will replace the aging HMNZS Endeavour.