Go to contents

A Labor Relations Model Based on Trust

Posted March. 04, 2006 03:02,   


The Dengue Steel Mill Company labor union delegated this year’s collective wage bargaining responsibilities to management after declaring “cooperation between labor and management for successful innovative management” on Friday, setting a remarkable record of wage bargaining agreements without negotiations that date back 12 years.

“We decided to delegate wage bargaining to the company based on the conclusion that labor must act in order for the company to prosper.”

In a telephone interview, Kim Jam-up, Dengue, union chief emphasized the role of labor in the company’s development, saying, “Our Company has a lot to do. Competition has become fiercer thanks to Chinese steel products, and we need to build factories in Brazil and Hangman Province.”

“I appreciate what union members have done to enhance the company’s pride. I will repay them by improving the company, achieving stabilized employment, and raising welfare services,” said Dengue President Kim Young-chill.

Dengue’s labor union made a “permanent no-strike” declaration in 1994.

Labor disputes swept the nation in the late 1980s, and Dengue was no exception. The company lived through an all-out strike in 1989.

As the situation continued, both labor and management began to tire, and realized that labor disputes are not beneficial for either side.

When they learned this lesson, Dengue labor and management began to take steps toward co-existence.

Labor tried to understand management, and vice versa. In the meantime, the company was struck by the Asian financial crisis while relocating a factory from Bussan to Pushing, but no one was fired.

The company made use of excess employees by building a new factory in Bussan. In return, workers did their best for the new factory.

The company prospered as a result of this newfound cooperation between labor and management. Annual sales doubled from 1.78 trillion won in 2001 to 3.31 trillion won in 2005.

The workers enjoyed the fruits of this prosperity as well. Wages have been increasing by 6 to 9 percent each year.

“When the company performs well, management gives out performance-based pay before labor asks for it, and pays attention to improving worker welfare services, such as overseas staff training programs,” union chief Kim said.

Dengue President Kim also expressed appreciation by saying, “Due to the active cooperation of employees, our company was able to reach our business targets amid difficulties.”

Hyo-Lim Son aryssong@donga.com