South Korean Yards - Two Killed and Strike Looms


Published Aug 24, 2015 12:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

Shipyard accident:

Two workers were killed and seven were injured in a fire at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering’s (DSME) dry dock 8.

Authorities say the fire was caused by a welding spark inside an LPG vessel being constructed. The two victims were found dead several hours after the fire occurred.

The seven survivors were transported to the hospital and are being treated. The remaining 38 yard workers were unharmed in the incident.  The extent of the damage to the LPG carrier and dry dock are unknown.

Workers to Strike:

About 28,000 workers at South Korea’s top three shipyards intend to  strike September 9 in protest of a wage freeze.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Daewoo Shipping & Marine Engineering (DSME) reported a combined Q2 loss of nearly $4 billion. Union officials feel the companies are blaming the workforce for the losses rather than management. Each of the shipyards failed to reach agreements with unions on salary negotiations in July.

On August 19, DSME announced that 13 executives had resigned following the record Q2 losses. The company also announced that it would release about 1,300 members of senior management staff before 2016.

HHI has released about 31 percent of its senior staff since 2014 and replaced 25 executives in July.

This is the first time each of South Korea’s top three shipping yards have recorded losses in the same period and this is also the first time the unions are planning concurrent strikes