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Home News Shipyard workers across Hyundai Heavy Industries group to strike

Shipyard workers across Hyundai Heavy Industries group to strike

Employees across the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) group of shipyards have voted to strike on 6, 7 and 13 December, as dissatisfaction with inflation and inadequate salaries mounts among South Korean workers.

It is the first time that workers in the HHI group, comprising HHI, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) are going on coordinated industrial action.

HHI and HSHI construct large and higher-value ships while HMD focuses on small and mid-sized ships.

The vote to strike came after the workers’ union rejected the management’s offer to up monthly wages by KRW 80,000 (US$61), and to pay each worker a KRW3 million (US$2,297) bonus, after collective bargaining on 25 November.

The union was also not appeased with the management’s proposal to provide annual dental benefits of KRW500,000 (US$383) and to stretch repayments of housing loans to 15 years.

HHI’s management claimed that its offers make the group’s remuneration more competitive than its rivals.

“We have been quite generous, despite the uncertain outlook for 2023, and losses in the first half of the year. We have done the best we could despite the challenging situation,” said a company official.

The union said what the management offered fell below its expectations, particularly a monthly increment of KRW142,300 (US$109), on top of increasing coverage of education expenses for employees’ children

On 22 July, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, another South Korean shipbuilder, reached a compromise with its workers after the latter went on a 51-day strike.

Frustration with rising living costs and what is perceived to be slow salary increments is seeing an ongoing strike by truckers in South Korea, while Korea Railroad Corporation workers are also threatening to go on industrial action.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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