Hyundai Heavy takes labour union to court

The fractious relationship between management and workers at the world’s largest shipbuilder is set to take another turn for the worse.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) said today it will file a suit for damages this week against its labour union over disruptive action at the company’s shareholders’ meeting in May and what it claims were illegal strikes.

HHI claimed today it had lost KRW9.2bn ($7.8m) due to union workers’ violent acts protesting the company’s split-up plan for a proposed merger with local rival, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).

Workers occupied a shareholder meeting venue in Ulsan for five days and vandalised equipment there, HHI claims. HHI also said the union’s “illegal” strikes between May and July caused a production loss estimated at more than KRW8bn.

HHI has asked a local court to seize union assets worth KRW3bn to help pay for the damage.

Workers at both HHI and DSME are concerned about job cuts if a merger pushes ahead. More than 30,000 people have been laid off in total at both yards in the past four years.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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