Hyundai future worrisomeThe dispute between labor and management at Hyundai Motor has come to an end after 21 day, leaving a large scar behind. Unionized workers staged strikes saying that they were paid less than promised for year-end bonuses. On the outside, it seemed like both management and labor took one step back. But through the incident, the law and principles have totally been broken. There was no winner, but two losers in this game. The company may restore peace and stability temporarily. But both may have nothing to say even if they are blamed by the public. The people expected that the company would set a good example for a new relationship between labor and management, but now they feel empty.
Hyundai Motor’s labor union staged an illegal strike with no good cause. The management made it clear that it would build a new relationship with labor in which principles and common sense are respected. Backed by strong support from the public, the company put pressure on its labor union. But the situation was reversed as it was revealed that the company had given 200 million won ($210,000) to the labor union under the table in return for its promise to halt a strike. The company has claimed that the labor union’s moves were illegal, but now the management has proven to be unethical. In the end, management and labor hastily ended the situation with a compromise to pay and take conditional payment of bonuses.
Now, what can we expect from Hyundai Motor? Both management and labor lack ethics. The labor union stages illegal strikes and the former head of the union received big money in return for ending strikes. Can Hyundai Motor’s labor union call itself Korea’s model labor union for advocating workers’ interest? Can Hyundai Motor be a company Korea feels proud of when it offered money behind the scenes to coddle the labor union?
It is a misunderstanding if Hyundai Motor’s management and labor believe they have resolved the situation with such a flimsy method. It will be hard for the company to avoid the vicious circle of conflict between labor and management. It is doubtful that the automaker will become a global one when it has a distorted relationship between labor and management.
We no longer want to ask for something from the company. It feels meaningless to ask it to abide by the law and principles. We have witnessed the weaknesses of Hyundai Motor’s management and labor. The future of the carmaker is truly worrisome.