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Large Enterprise Strike Means Supplier Company Workers Are Going Home Empty Handed

Large Enterprise Strike Means Supplier Company Workers Are Going Home Empty Handed

Posted September. 09, 2005 07:43,   


Special and overtime allowances of suppliers of large enterprises account for as much as 30 or 40 percent of workers’ monthly salaries. Apart from these allowances, however, the companies are even reducing working hours because production lines have stopped.

Instead of Producing Car Parts, Workers Are Picking Weeds

“You must install protection covers before operating the line because otherwise your clothes are likely to be stuck in running machines. I know some people don’t comply with this rule only because it is a little unhandy. Please follow the rule. Otherwise, you will face a serious accident.”

This instruction emanated from safety training class operated by A company for its 80 employees.

The president of the company said, “We offer workers safety training courses to kill time,” adding, “We have even given 50 workers compulsory vacation.”

The company that produces parts for auto doors is suffering a 3 billion won deficit due to the large enterprise strike.

A 5000-pyeong manufacturing line that produces car parts for Sportage, Avante, and other models was engulfed in silence. There was only one person on duty who took care of equipment.

Car part production lines for export were, however, running ceaselessly.

Ms. Shin, 53, who takes part in the production of the car parts of Verna, was checking products for export. Shin said, “Since we don’t have work, I check products again and again,” adding, “I feel very uncomfortable because I punch the time clock every day, but I don’t work”

Kim, 49, Shin’s co-worker, said, “Other companies whose sizes are smaller that my company may confront bankruptcy sooner or later,” adding, “I am so sad that the labor disputes of larger companies end up as a big burden to small supplier companies.”

The president of this company said, “I have to loan out about 10 billion won from banks to give employees a Chuseok bonus,” adding, “It is just a matter of time when this company falls into bankruptcy.”

Meanwhile, an executive of B factory which produces parts for car wheels said, “In order to kill time, every morning workers clean up the factory and pick up weeds,” adding, “I am very anxious how to secure financial soundness, especially ahead of the Chuseok holiday, because the strike has already inflicted a whopping 3 billion won revenue decrease to the company.”

Ahead of Chuseok holiday, there is nothing for workers to do except being anxious.

Company C, an affiliate located in Ulsan, has stopped all lines and there was only one sign, “0” on a bulletin board that indicated the production amount from each line.

The company that produces driver’s seats has already suffered about 23 billion won in revenue losses.

When visiting the company at 2:00 p.m. we saw workers playing badminton or ping-pong, and playing chess. Some were sleeping.

Park, 42, said, “My salary has been cut by 40 percent. Thus, I can’t think about eating out on weekends with my family,” adding, “I am even considering reducing the pocket money that I will give my parents to celebrate the Chuseok holiday.”

Im, 41, said, “My family is paying keen attention to what is going on in my workplace, and my parents call me occasionally to check up on it,” adding, “I think I have to cut expenses for Chuseok holiday gifts.”

Hyo-Lim Son aryssong@donga.com