Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world’s biggest shipbuilder, has asked its labour union to accept a wage freeze this year, in anticipation of lower revenue amid tough market conditions.
The proposal was put forth by the shipbuilder’s management during wage negotiations with HHI’s labour union on 27 July.
Calling it an “inevitable choice”, the management said in its staff newsletter, “Continuous losses for six quarters and the business environment does not indicate a recovery is imminent even into the next half of the year. Our immediate concern is our survival and minimising losses.”
At its 12th labour and management negotiation, HHI’s labour union sought a 100% increase in incentives for higher productivity, a KRW1 million (USD857) incentive for achieving safety targets, as well as improvements to the systems of salaries, job designations, shifts, bonus payments, as well as the treatment of workers. The union also wants basic wages to be raised by KRW127,560 per person.
Understandably, the union is neither satisfied nor accommodating with what the management proposes, and has voted for industrial action if their demands are not met.
The union has said it would carry out the industrial action on 13 August, after the official end of the summer vacations, hoping to give the management enough time to consider the workers’ demands.
“It would be ideal if we could give adequate compensation to employees who have been working hard for the company’s revival but given the company’s financial situation, it is sad we can’t accommodate our staff’s wishes,” said HHI.