About 10 Hankook Tire union members, dressed in black, drive by the collar of their management team leaders at the Daejeon plant on the 19th. /Reader Provided”/>
About 10 Hankook Tire union members, dressed in black, drive by the collar of their management team leaders at the Daejeon plant on the 19th. /provided by readers
The labor movement is in full swing. At the Hankook Tire Daejeon plant, where wages are being negotiated, members of the Metal Workers’ Union of the National Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions stopped the operation of facilities without permission and even assaulted management officials. It is evaluated that the response to the labor union’s illegal struggle this summer will be the benchmark for the five years of the Yun Seok-yeol administration.
According to the industry on the 21st, Hankook Tire’s metal workers stopped the operation of the light truck (LTR) molding equipment at the Daejeon plant on the morning of the 19th. When the management team leaders protested, they kicked his shin, swung his fists, knocked him down and even stepped on him. The facility was only restarted in the afternoon. The union said that the facility had to be shut down for safety reasons, and the management team leader claimed that he also assaulted the union member.
The strike by the cargo solidarity narrowly ended in eight days, but tensions in the industry are rising as labor struggles are scheduled one after another. The KCTU will hold a large-scale national workers’ convention in downtown Seoul on the 2nd of next month.
The unions of large corporations are begging for a sharp increase in wages to reflect the recent intensification of inflation.
A complex crisis is coming…勞 “Assault, occupation, strike,” hard-line struggle
GM Korea’s production fell by 30%, but the union demands a 400% bonus
Hankook Tire, the world’s sixth-largest tire maker and Korea’s No. The atmosphere changed with the first strike at the end of last year. After that, many union members who had a taste for the strong labor movement moved from the existing KCTU to the KCTU. In the end, this year, the KCTU Metallurgical Union was named as the majority union. They foretold a hard-line fight against the management. Recently, there have been cases of building factories during wage negotiations and gang violence against management officials.
○ Labor union “Strike if salary is not significantly increased”
According to the business community on the 21st, the number of companies that are in conflict with the union is rapidly increasing. The strike of the freighters’ solidarity is over, but the labor community’s heartbreak is the background that is being evaluated as a start. The KCTU will hold the National Workers’ Congress in downtown Seoul on the 2nd of next month. A key requirement is a significant increase in the minimum wage. On the same day, the labor union proposed a minimum wage of 10,890 won per hour as the first demand for next year’s minimum wage. This is 18.9% (1730 won) more than the minimum wage (9,160 won) this year.
At the plenary meeting of the Minimum Wage Committee on the same day, the Korea Employers’ Federation said, “The ‘triple bad news’ of a decrease in production, consumption, and investment in high prices, high interest rates, and high exchange rates is coming all at once. It’s absurd,” he pointed out.
Conflicts over wage increases are also intensifying. The union of Hyundai Steel has been occupying the office of the president of Dangjin Steel Works in Chungcheongnam-do for 50 days to pay a special incentive of 4 million won. The company, who had suffered unilateral damage, filed a complaint with the police, but it is known that no action has been taken.
The auto industry is also in trouble. The union of Hyundai Motor Company is demanding a larger increase this year, even though the salaries of many production workers exceeded 100 million won again last year. The union demanded an increase of 165,200 won per month (excluding salary increases) in the negotiations. This is more than double the base salary increase last year (75,000 won per month). The management side is in the position that the union’s demands are too exorbitant given the supply shortage of semiconductors and rising raw material prices. As the union executive is evaluated as strong this year, there are concerns about a strike for the first time in four years.
The labor and management of GM Korea, which will begin wage negotiations on the 23rd, is also expected to suffer considerably. In this negotiation, the union decided to demand an increase of 142,300 won in the monthly basic wage and 400% of the normal wage (equivalent to 16.94 million won). The management is expressing disappointment, saying that the financial difficulties are worsening. In fact, GM Korea’s finished car production in the first quarter was 60,408 units, down 30.1% from the first quarter of last year (86,399 units), which suffered from a semiconductor shortage.
“The global supply chain crisis, rising raw material prices, and logistics cost hikes are all alone in panic,” said a manufacturer CEO.
○ The wage peak system and the Severe Accident Punishment Act
The union’s demand for the abolition of the wage peak system is also in full swing. This is in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling last month that “the wage peak system, which cuts wages based on age alone, without any reasonable reason, is invalid.” Samsung Electronics is a prime example. In 2014, the company extended the retirement age to 60 and introduced a wage peak system. From the age of 55, the wage was reduced by 10% compared to the previous year. Since then, Samsung Electronics has delayed the application of the peak wage system to the age of 57 and lowered the wage reduction rate to 5%, but the union continues to demand the abolition of the wage peak system.
Attention is also focused on whether or not to revise the Serious Accident Punishment Act, which took effect in January of this year. As the ruling party moves to revise the Act on the Punishment of Serious Accidents, the labor community is protesting. The amendment proposed by the People’s Power contains contents that allow the punishment to be reduced in case of an industrial accident even though the employer and others have taken sufficient measures. Even the Korean Federation of Trade Unions (KCTU), which is considered to be more moderate than the KCTU, recently declared that “we will fight strongly to stop the corruption of the Serious Disaster Punishment Act.”
How the government responds to the labor union’s heartbreak that will continue this summer is expected to be a measure of the labor-management-government relationship over the next five years. An industry official said, “In order to correct the playground tilted by the union in the past government, it is absolutely necessary to improve the system in the direction of prohibiting occupation of workplaces entirely and allowing substitute work in case of strikes.”
Correspondent Il-gyu Kim email@example.com