Jose-Vicente de los Mozos, the No. 2 man of Renault Group, will visit Korea to take tour of Renault’s plant in Busan and meet with ranking officials of the Busan Metropolitan City government late this month amid a deepening labor-management conflict of Renault Samsung Motors. Attention is focusing on whether the Deputy CEO will send a warning message against the labor union, which staged guerrilla labor strikes only to face business lockout by the company.
According to Renault Samsung Motors and the city government on Friday, Jose-Vicente de los Mozos will visit Korea right after the Lunar New Year’s Day holiday late this month, take tours to Renault Samsung’s head office and plant in Busan, and its Seoul office. He is visiting Korea for the first time since February last year, when Renault Samsung labor staged the longest ever labor strike. Pundits say the his visit aims to issue a warning message as Renault Samsung is facing a grave situation as it was at the time.
Renault Samsung has been allotted with production of the XM3 crossover for export to overseas markets from Renault Group, but has been struggling amid negotiations over production volume due to strike over pay staged by its union for two consecutive years. The union went on strike on December 20 last year, demanding an 8.01 percent hike in base salary. The company’s management rejected the demand, saying, “We could consider paying more salary including bonus, but management and labor have to share the burden amid worsening business environment, including the termination of consignment manufacturing of Nissan’s Rogue SUV at the Korean plant late last year.”
Notably, the union, which would go on strike at night shift hours, changed its strategy to one of strike actions by designated unionists working daytime shifts from February 6, which is further intensifying conflict. Strike action by designated unionists is dubbed “guerrilla strike,” as the labor union asks randomly selected unionists to put down their tools for one or two hours. Since the Busan plant is producing different models of vehicles through the same individual manufacturing lines, work stoppage at several locations can bring the operation of the entire plant to halt, causing significant financial damage to the French automaker. Against this backdrop, Renault Samsung imposed Friday partial lockout of the plant for nighttime shifts workers.
Hyung-Seok Seo firstname.lastname@example.org