Selfish union actionsThe selfish acts by Hyundai Motor’s labor union go beyond the limit. Last month, the management proposed ways to share the burden of falling sales but the labor union called it an attack on unionized workers.
Yesterday, the union said it would stage strikes and called a conference of its representatives. As its reason, the union said the company was lukewarm about trying out a two-shift system with eight hours for each shift.
The management appealed for a production line with a one-shift system, since sales are sluggish and workloads are to be reduced, to no avail.
The labor union countered that it was the company’s problem that business wasn’t going well and that wages for workers should never be reduced.
With the union displaying extreme selfishness, even company workers are turning their backs on the organization. Workers at the Ulsan factory put up posters in the cafeteria saying, “The recent submission of the plan to strike was a unilateral, arrogant act by the union’s steering committee.”
On the company’s Web site, posts are pouring in, saying, “Strikes will lead to bankruptcy” and appealing to the union to refrain from extreme measures.
Auto manufacturers around the globe are restructuring to survive. The Big Three in the United States were on the verge of bankruptcy and begged for a bailout. Japan’s Toyota, the world’s No. 1 automaker, saw a deficit for the first time in 58 years and reduced production.
Meanwhile productivity in Korea’s auto industry is hardly half of Toyota’s, while wages and benefits for workers are world-class. Therefore, even if management and labor cooperate and work hard there is no guarantee that they can survive.
Nevertheless, the Hyundai Motor union is ignoring opinions within the organization. Who is it that the union really represents and who is it trying to protect?
In order to achieve labor movement goals, the union must understand the market correctly. What most people want most right now are job security and peace in the industry.
The Hyundai Motor union must abandon its plan to undertake strikes that even its own members disagree with. Instead, it must sit together with management and try to find ways to keep their jobs. That is how it will get the people’s support. If the union stages strikes now, when it should work harder, it will only face a catastrophe.