Hyundai Motor, labor union spar on job fund

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Hyundai Motor, labor union spar on job fund

The Korea Metal Workers’ Union, of which Hyundai Motor Group’s labor union is a part, requested the automaker establish a job creation fund with the union on Tuesday, but the company declined the offer, saying the union was bluffing on how much it could contribute to the fund.

The union proposed investing 250 billion won ($220 million) as base capital for the fund if the automaker agreed to match it with another 250 billion won.

The union also requested both parties contribute an extra 20 billion won combined every year.

“If a fund is created with 500 billion won, we can hire 12,000 employees with initial annual pay of over 40 million won,” the union said in a statement. “Annual savings of an additional 20 billion won can create 1,500 more regular job positions when used in tandem with policies crafted by the new administration,” referring to the current labor-friendly president, Moon Jae-in.

The union has proposed using the money first to create more jobs by cutting back the hours of subcontractors and converting temporary positions to permanent ones.

However, the union added one caveat: it would only chip in the 250 billion won if Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates agreed to pay back overdue wages to the union’s 93,000-plus members.

The union argues the group failed to pay for unused monthly and annual leave as well as for overtime work. The estimated unpaid wages amount to at least 21 million won per worker and as high as 66 million won, according to the union, which is why they say they are capable of paying the 250 billion won for the fund.

“The fund can be created immediately if Hyundai Motor Group decides to abide by the Supreme Court’s precedents,” the union said, referring to previous cases in which the union has won over the company. “If the price is too big, the company can come to the negotiation table rather than continuing lawsuits.”

Hyundai Motor Group disputed the union’s claims, arguing the 250 billion won does not exist because the litigation on unpaid wages is still ongoing.

“The labor union said it would inject several hundred million won in creating a job creation fund, but their source of finances doesn’t even exist,” a Hyundai spokesperson said. “The union is able to receive that much money only when it wins the ongoing case and the court accepts the full sum of the requested compensation.”

Hyundai Motor Group has already won two trials regarding overdue wages case as of November 2015, and there is still one more trial remaining.

The automaker accused the union of staging a publicity stunt. “The Korean Metal Workers’ Union’s offer seems to be aimed at taking the upper hand in the wage case,” the Hyundai spokesperson said.


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

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