[EDITORIALS]Union tying down HyundaiOn Wednesday, the Hyundai Motor labor union caused disruption at a New Year’s ceremony. Union workers assaulted the president of the company and set off fire extinguishers. The president’s glasses were broken, injuring his face, and 15 security guards were wounded.
It seems that the company cannot have a ceremony at its factory in Ulsan without the labor union’s permission. The labor union has often staged strikes or slowdowns, halting the production line. Now they have even used violence against their management, saying they were paid too little as an additional bonus. A decline in output worth more than 70 billion won, or $75 million, was seen over a couple of days when the labor union refused to work overtime. An additional bonus is granted when production targets are met. It is too brazen for workers to demand more payment when they fail to meet their targets.
The labor union claims that the company promised to pay one-and-a-half-month’s wages as a bonus, but the company says it never made such a promise. Even if the union is telling the truth, it should resolve the problem through dialogue.
The labor workers the other day agreed not to approve a two-shift system. Even though car production has been delayed for six months, the unionized workers refused the new system, saying it would damage their health. Because the labor union pursues only self-interest, exports slow down and 700 new job positions that could have been created under the new system cannot be. This is why factories are transferred abroad and workers lose their jobs in the end.
The Hyundai Motor labor union staged a strikes for 33 days last year, causing a decline in output worth 1.5 trillion won. The union took part in 11 strikes for causes that did not directly concern them, such as protesting a free trade agreement with the United States.
A senior member of the union was arrested on charges of corruption when selecting a company to provide souvenirs for an event commemorating the establishment of the union.
Hyundai Motor is surrounded by hostile environmental factors, including the strong won and the sluggish global car market. The labor union should apologize for the assault and try to collaborate with management. The company should also make union workers take civil and criminal responsibility for this incident. If the company does as the labor union wants, as it has done before, the company will be tied down by the union all year round.