Hyundai Heavy Industries’ (HHI) plan to take over Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is hitting a bump with strong opposition from both shipyards’ worker’s unions.
The leaders of the two unions staged a protest in front of Korea Development Bank (KDB) headquarters yesterday, expressing their opposition to the potential merger. The protest later escalated with the union members throwing eggs at the KDB building. KDB is the lead shareholder in DSME and has provisionally granted the takeover of the yard by HHI.
The two unions are expected to start a joint full strike early next month.
HHI co-CEOs Han Young-seuk and Ka Sam-hyun said in a statement this month that the acquisition is a choice for the country’s shipbuilding industry and there will be no sacrifice from either side in the process of the merger.
“Both HHI and DSME have similar portfolios in commercial shipbuilding, offshore plant facilities and other special purpose vessels, and the merger is bound to bring about massive restructuring under the purpose of efficient management. Those who came up with the plan claim there will be no layoffs after the merger, but we have absolutely no trust in their promise given the previous restructuring history of HHI,” an HHI union official said in an interview with Korea Times.
The merger will create a shipbuilding giant with the world’s largest orderbook with more than one in five newbuildings.