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Labor negotiations restart at Renault Samsung

June 13,2019
Management and labor at Renault Samsung Motors returned to the negotiating table on Wednesday as the two parties agreed not to further escalate conflict over a year-long dispute on workers’ wages and working conditions.

The labor union at Renault Samsung said Wednesday that it called off a full strike that began eight days ago and will continue talks with management after government mediation earlier that day.

The company has withdrawn plans of a partial lockout as part of the agreement.

“There was a meeting between labor, management and government, where the government expressed a need to restart talks,” said a union official. “Labor agreed to end the strikes, while the company said it will not conduct the lockout.”

According to a Renault Samsung spokesperson, labor and management restarted negotiations Wednesday evening.

The disagreement between the two parties goes back to June last year when negotiations first began. Workers have called for a rise in salary and improvements to benefits, while the company has rejected calls to increase base pay and instead offered bonuses.

The conflict between the two parties intensified in recent weeks as the union announced a full-scale strike last Wednesday after a tentative agreement failed to pass a vote by workers last month.

The decision for a full-on strike escalated tension between the two parties.

The automaker responded strongly, announcing a lockout of evening shifts at the company’s only plant in Busan from Wednesday. It also said it would consider legal action.

The union dismissed the threat of legal action, saying that the strikes completely abided by the law.

The labor union had previously only conducted partial strikes since last October. Due to the partial strikes, the automaker said there were production losses of over 14,000 vehicles as of April.

The recent strikes were met with mixed responses from workers as some decided to cross picket lines and show up for work.

The conflict between labor and management comes at a difficult time for the Busan-based automaker.

While it has in the past relied on orders from Nissan to produce its Rogue SUV, the Japanese automaker has decided to reduce orders for the model by 40 percent this year.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]


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