No winners in auto strike

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No winners in auto strike

Despite desperate pleas from Ulsan residents, Hyundai Motor Co.’s union launched a partial strike yesterday as announced.
A parking lot for vehicles to be exported has already been emptied and customer inconvenience has been mounting due to delayed production of domestic cars. It is evident that the automaker will fail to meet the schedule of exports and its domestic sales will stumble if the union continues the partial strike.
An automaker cannot earn a profit unless it sells cars. If causing enormous damage to the company is the only way to receive an additional half-month’s salary bonus, let the union continue the strike.
But the one thing to remember is that the union can only insist on additional bonuses as long as there are Hyundai vehicles for consumers to buy.
The union may think that the company still receives orders from other countries and has a monopoly on the domestic market. However, customers in both global and domestic markets do not have much patience.
Rumor has it that overseas buyers do not purchase Hyundai vehicles manufactured during a strike.
In this country, a movement is already underway to boycott Hyundai vehicles.
A customers’ group demanded that provisions in a vehicle purchase agreement be revised so that if customers suffer damage because of delayed production, they can seek compensation from the automaker.
If the union thinks they will still be able to win bonuses by staging illegal strikes after customers turn their backs on the company, let the strike continue.
If the union is assured that the automaker will be able to compete with imported foreign vehicles in terms of price and quality after tariff barriers are lifted, it is no one else’s business whether the union launches illegal strikes or not.
But do not expect the country’s customers to buy pricy Hyundai vehicles forever to pay for the bonuses of and expenses incurred by labor officials. Unless the union puts an end to its lingering bad practices, the company’s dream of becoming a Top 5 global automaker by 2010 will never materialize.
It is harsh reality that if a company fails to reach the top, it will fall in the ranks of its competitors.
The collapse of the top three automakers in the United States resulted from powerful union strikes and loss of customer loyalty.
Korea beware.

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