Unionized workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. continued their strike on Tuesday, putting pressure on the company to ditch its proposed split-up plan for a merger with a smaller local rival.
The company split-up is the first step in the process of its proposed merger with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. In March, Hyundai Heavy signed a deal worth an estimated 2 trillion won (US$1.6 billion) with the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) to buy Daewoo Shipbuilding. The bank is the largest shareholder of Daewoo Shipbuilding, with a controlling 55.7 percent stake in the company.
Under the deal, the shipbuilder will be divided into a sub-holding company and a reorganized Hyundai Heavy Industries, which will carry out its shipbuilding and offshore businesses.
The union has been strongly opposing the proposal, claiming that the split forces the newly born Hyundai Heavy to inherit massive debts, which will lead to job cuts.
Since May 16, the shipyard’s unionized workers have been launching partial and full-scale strikes, and the walkouts will continue until Friday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of workers staged a sit-in protest at a town hall near Hyundai Heavy’s headquarters here to stop the company’s shareholders meeting that is set to approve splitting the shipbuilder into two entities on Friday.
An Ulsan court on Monday approved an injunction filed by the company that prohibits the union from interrupting the upcoming shareholders meeting. The court said the union would have to pay 50 million won per activity in breach of the injunction order.