HHI Unionists Reject Improved Wage Hike Offer

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HHI unionists hold a rally at the company’s dockyard in Ulsan.

The management of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. has offered new wage and collective bargaining proposals, which included an 80,000 won increase in the basic wage, the hiring of retirees, and the expansion of welfare benefits, but its labor union rejected them.

The management of Hyundai Heavy Industries offered to raise the basic monthly salary by 80,000 won and pay 3 million won in incentives at the 33rd round of collective bargaining negotiations on Nov. 25. In addition, it also proposed the expansion of fixed-term employment of retired production technicians, up to two years of additional work for retirees, the payment of 500,000 won per year in dental treatment expenses, and the extension of housing loan repayment to 15 years.

“The basic salary increases from 2020 to 2022 adds up to 194,000 won, which is much higher than those of other companies in the same industry,” a company official said. “Although our company turned a profit in the third quarter of this year, the outlook for 2023 is uncertain, with orders expected to fall by nearly 40 percent. The management has come up with the best plan it can draw up in a situation where an earnings recovery is slower than expected. The company posted a deficit of about 800 billion won last year, and is likely to suffer a considerable deficit this year as well.”

The labor union refused to accept the proposal itself, saying that the management’s proposal did not meet their expectations. Previously, the labor unions of the three shipbuilding companies (Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries under the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group) demanded that the management raise the basic wage by 142,300 won (excluding salary raises by seniority), abolish the wage peak system, introduce the labor director system, ramp up education expenses for employees’ children and contribute 1 billion won to the Social Solidarity Fund among others.

The labor unions of the three Hyundai Heavy Industries shipbuilding affiliates plan to hold a rally in front of the new Pangyo building of Hyundai Heavy Industries near Seoul if negotiations are not settled by Nov. 30. After that, on Dec. 6, they will stage a joint four-hour strike in the field. They will go on an indefinite joint full-scale strike beginning from Dec. 13.

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