Criticism for KiaThe Kia Motors labor union started a partial strike on Jan. 11, setting a shocking new record. Not only is this their first strike of the year, the strike continues the company’s history of 20 consecutive years of strikes.
Salary negotiations came to a halt on Friday, and the labor union is said to be planning to intensify the strike in all of the company’s factories nationwide this week.
Since salary negotiations began last May, the labor union has gone on 11 strikes both large and small.
According to the company, the strikes delayed production of 48,000 units and resulted in losses worth 860 billion won ($762.9 million) last year.
With the inclusion of the tangible and intangible losses the company has suffered due to the current partial strike, the company’s total losses are estimated to be over 1 trillion won. That is around the same as the sales figures announced by the company last year.
If the strikes continue, the company may even set a record for the longest salary negotiations in its history and the greatest amount of losses due to strikes.
We are not criticizing individual company labor unions for making legitimate demands for salary increases, or for going on strike when they have a legitimate reason.
But there is a point that clearly needs to be made regarding the new records being set by Kia Motors.
First, any salary increase won by the labor union would be funded by taxpayer money. Kia Motors’ increased sales performance last year was made possible largely due to tax exemptions for new car purchases that were part of a series of measures to revive the economy.
Secondly, the company has already given its employees the highest bonuses they have ever received. Nevertheless, the Kia Motors labor union has disregarded that fact, gone on strike and demanded salary increases that are similar to the ones given to Hyundai Motor Company employees, which were given as a reward for 15 years without disputes or strikes.
It is hard to understand how the Kia Motors labor union, which has brought the company so many losses, can demand the same salary as Hyundai Motor employees.
This is an important year that will determine whether the Korean economy will be able to overcome the global financial crisis.
The Kia Motors labor union strike is like a shot of cold water poured over the backs of those who are working so hard to revive the economy.
Does the Kia Motor labor union not care about the welfare of the public, not to mention the glares they are sure to inspire?