[EDITORIALS]Hyundai Motor precedentHyundai Motor Co.’s labor and management have concluded collective bargaining. Viewing the results, we cannot but ask ourselves if the days spent reaching the pact and the interruption in production was worth it.
We also worry that Hyundai Motor might not be able to maintain its competitive edge in the fierce international market. The concessions made by management, which included such major issues as labor’s participation in management, are likely to have a negative effect on labor relations in other workshops. This agreement could hurt the Korean economy in general.
The two sides also agreed that, without the consent of labor, management cannot lay off workers or seek early retirements. With this agreement, Hyundai management accepted the union’s participation on decisions about adopting new technologies and transferring production facilities overseas. Also, the employer’s right to lay off workers was made invalid. The pact leaves the bad precedent of infringing on the basic rights of the management. This will not only negatively affect Hyundai’s joint project with DaimlerChrysler, but also other Hyundai investments in the United States and Europe.
The introduction of the five-day work-week without changing work rules and giving better treatment to temporary workers will also pose problems. The features of the five-day workweek Hyundai decided to adopt are beyond those of the bill pending in the Assembly. Improvement of working conditions of temporary workers was not the Hyundai management’s concern. The strike at Hyundai Motor, in one aspect, is a proxy war between the corporations and the labor. The result will ripple through other workshops.
The union hooked a big fish, as they themselves say. But the more it presses for its share, the more uneasy subcontractors will become. Management defends the concessions, citing losses from a prolonged strike. But it was a shortsighted decision. The Hyundai Motor result should not lead to strife in our economy. The clock of Hyundai’s labor-management relations runs counter to the economic reality.