Samsung Heavy union prepares for strike today

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Samsung Heavy union prepares for strike today

The worker’s committee of Samsung Heavy Industries will be the first to go on strike beginning today. Labor unions of the nation’s two other shipbuilders and Hyundai Motor are monitoring SHI’s moves as they prepare for face-offs with their companies.

SHI doesn’t have a labor union but it has a worker’s committee with a slightly different structure.

According to the committee, the strike will be held for four hours starting at 1 p.m. at its Geoje Shipyard. It comes after a 90-minute protest on Wednesday at the shipyard.

“We cannot conform to a forced restructuring plan and layoffs,” the committee said in a statement.

The committee has already sued Park Dae-young, CEO of Samsung Heavy Industries, for violating the Labor Standard Act on Monday during the workers’ protest against the shipbuilder. Workers said they were protesting the company’s plan to lay off about 1,500 employees and shrink existing benefits for workers due to restructuring.

“We will stop the strike only when the company decides to let go of the restructuring plan,” the committee said, hinting of a possible joint strike with other shipbuilders as well as Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).

DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries are also preparing for a strike. DSME union members voted to strike on Wednesday after appeals to the Regional Labor Relations Commission.

HHI earned a right to strike last Friday as the commission officially halted wage negotiations between the labor union and the company. Its union will soon vote on whether to strike.

It is likely that the shipbuilder’s union will join forces with Hyundai Motor’s, which recently also requested that the labor relations commission mediate as wage negotiations collapsed. Hyundai Motor and union members’ failed to reach an agreement Tuesday during annual wage negotiations. The union decided to vote on a strike next Wednesday.

The union members said “the company didn’t come up with any solutions and we will mobilize unions’ forces as negotiations no longer prove effective.”

The labor union’s demands include a 7.2 percent or 152,050 won raise in wages, bonus payment of 30 percent of last year’s net profit and a right of veto on promotions. “It’s not our first time going through struggles with the labor union, but this time we feel that the negotiation rupture was already planned out by the union to join forces with HHI,” a spokesperson from Hyundai Motor said.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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