Unionised workers at South Korea’s shipbuilding giant Hyundai Heavy Industries staged their first industrial action in almost two decades on Thursday when they walked out from a scheduled one hour of extra work after their regular eight-hour shift, the AFP reports.
The union announced the walkout, which was supported by about 18,000 union members representing 70% of the workforce, after talks over wage dispute collapsed last Wednesday.
“After today’s walkout, we will step up our action and may launch a strike involving all our members if the company continues to reject our demands,” Park Kyung-Soo, a union leader, reportedly told AFP.
The wages talks failed after the company refused to meet the union’s demand for a 6.5% increase in basic pay and a one-off bonus amounting to 10 weeks’ wages.
Hyundai Heavy argued the demands were unrealistic seeing that the company posted a USD 1.7 billion operating loss for the first nine months of 2014, also stating that an all-out strike would set the company back an estimated USD 90 million in production losses.
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