Hyundai labor union threatens ‘war’ as talks stall

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Hyundai labor union threatens ‘war’ as talks stall

The tug-of-war between Hyundai Motor’s labor union and management seems destined to continue as their 10th round of negotiations collapsed on Wednesday.

The union was scheduled to repeat last Friday’s one-day strike today, with workers laying down their tools for a total of eight hours split between two shifts. The nation’s largest labor union, which has 45,000 members, also plans to stage industrial actions from Wednesday to Friday next week if its demands are not met.

Co-CEO Yoon Gap-han and Moon Yong-moon, the chief of the labor union, failed to find common ground at Wednesday’s meeting in Ulsan, which came 20 days after their last talks, the company said.

The famously militant union said it saw no significant change in attitude from negotiators, and threatened to “wage a war” on management if the latter does not make a better offer.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again on Tuesday and Thursday next week.

President Lee Myung-bak called yesterday for the issue to be resolved quickly so as not to disrupt production at the nation’s biggest automaker.

“It’s not appropriate for such highly paid workers to go on strike,” Lee said during an emergency economic meeting at the Blue House.

The union has called to raise basic salaries, adopt a two-shift system during daytime hours and make more non-regular workers full-time employees, with all the attendant benefits.

Meanwhile, the company’s labor-management advisory council, which was founded in January last year, said yesterday that it would be ideal to impose an eight-hour day shift and nine-hour night shift. At present, each of the shifts runs for 10 hours.

If the proposal is accepted, daytime workers would punch in at 6:30 a.m. and out at 3:10 p.m., with the second shift starting immediately and running until 12:50 a.m.

By Joo Kyung-don []

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