Workers Endorse Strike at Hyundai Heavy Industries

South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) may be facing strike for the first time in two decades as unionized workers threat to stop production if the management doesn’t sort out wage and benefit issues.

The talks between the two sides over pay increase broke off in September after failure to reach any kind of agreement.

Staggering 97% of the shipbuilding company’s workforce, which constitutes up to 10,000 workers, supported the motion for work stoppage scheduled for beginning of the next month, the Wall Street Journal cited union spokesman Kim Hyung-gyun as saying.

Nevertheless, a strike seems to be a last resort measure as talks on possible wage deal with the management are to take place this week.

“Despite the vote result, union leaders will try to seek a negotiated wage deal with the management this week. But if the company doesn’t accept our demand, we have no other choice but to go on strike,” the spokesman is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

The workers want a 6.5% rise in basic pay and a 250% year-over-year bonus increase.

In case further negotiations fall through consequences could be enormous for the already loss-clogging shipbuilder which is trying to reorganize its business to boost efficiency.

The second quarter figures for this year showed that the company had recorded a net loss of USD 585 million.

World Maritime News Staff

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