Hyundai Motor union backs HHI unionThe Hyundai Motor union is supporting efforts by the Hyundai Heavy Industries union to fight the shipbuilder’s plan to split in two.
“The labor unions of Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Heavy Industries are brothers connected with blood we shed from fighting together for 30 years,” the automaker’s union said in a statement Wednesday. “We will actively work jointly with Hyundai Heavy Industries’ labor union to stop the split-up deal from happening.”
It claimed the merger is a means for Hyundai Heavy Industries Group Chairman Chung Mong-joon, the largest shareholder of the shipbuilding group, to pass leadership to Chung Ki-sun, his eldest son.
Both unions are under the Korea Metal Workers’ Union, an umbrella labor group.
The proposed takeover of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) by Hyundai Heavy Industries is being frustrated as Hyundai Heavy’s unionized workers violently oppose the merger plan, which includes dividing the company’s operations.
In March, Hyundai Heavy signed a 2 trillion won ($1.67 billion) deal with the Korea Development Bank to buy DSME. Under the terms of the deal, Hyundai Heavy is to be divided into an investment and R&D company and a reorganized Hyundai Heavy
The split is the first step in the process of merging with DSME. Shareholders of Hyundai Heavy are set to approve splitting the company at their meeting in Ulsan on Friday.
When the merger plan is completed, Hyundai Heavy Industries is to become the world’s largest shipbuilder.
The National Pension Service, the second-largest shareholder of Hyundai Heavy, with a 9.35-percent stake, announced Wednesday it will vote for the split-up plan at the shareholder meeting Friday.
With the announcement, around 1,000 Hyundai Motor union members joined the rally of Hyundai Heavy workers Wednesday at a local community center slated for the shareholding meeting. The automaker’s union plans to continue its efforts through the week.
Hyundai Heavy’s labor union has occupied the community center since Sunday.
A court ruled Monday that it is illegal for the union to block the shareholders or disturb the meeting in any manner.
Violators are to be fined 50 million won for each offense.
Hyundai Heavy’s union said in response that it will file a complaint to reverse the decision.
BY KO JUN-TAE [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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