One HMM union files for arbitration

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One HMM union files for arbitration

 An HMM ship is seen at a terminal in Busan on July 18. [HMM]

An HMM ship is seen at a terminal in Busan on July 18. [HMM]

 
One of HMM's main unions is filing for mediation by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) after it failed to agree with management over wages for this year.  
 
The union, which has been asking for a more than 20 percent raise in wages for employees working in offices and other plants, not on ships, plans to file the request later today or on Monday.  
 
It is also threatening a strike if the mediation fails.  
 
The union held four rounds of negotiations before taking the case to the NLRC.
 
HMM has two unions: one representing employees working on land and the other representing crew on ships.
 
The other main union is scheduled to hold a third round of negotiations with management on Aug. 3.  
 
Both unions are asking for 25 percent increases, while management of HMM, the largest shipping company in Korea, is offering a 5.5 percent increase and a bonus of a month's salary.  
 
The unions argue that a 25 percent hike is necessary after wages were frozen from 2012 through 2019.
 
They demanded an eight percent raise last year, after HMM earnings rose significantly thanks to a surge in shipping demand.  
 
They eventually agreed to a 2.8 percent increase. 
 
HMM last year reported 58.85 billion won ($51 million) in net profit compared to a 664 billion won net loss the previous year.  
 
“The company’s current stance is that it still has a lot of debt to repay, and is asking employees to take things slow,” said Woo Byeong-seon, a spokesperson for management. “Employees argue they are asking for what they had missed during the eight-year freeze in wages.”
  
 

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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