Thousands ready to strike at Korea’s top yards

Up to 28,000 workers will go an indefinite strike from September 9 at South Korea’s top three shipyards, protesting a proposed wage freeze.

With Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) all posting heavy losses in the second quarter senior management at the trio of yards are taking emergency measures to staunch the red ink, something that has not gone down well with their employees.

Other Korean yards who also face financial difficulties and are trying to negotiate salary freezes – such as STX Offshore & Shipbuilding and Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction – also face the risk of strikes.

Disputes over pay at Korean yards and subsequent strikes are very common. What remains unclear this time is how long the unions intend to keep up the militant action.

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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