Go to contents

Hyundai, Workers at Odds Over Bonus

Posted January. 05, 2007 07:18,   


Hyundai Motors filed criminal charges against 22 labor union members, including chairman Park Yoo-ki, on January 4 at the Ulsan Dongbu police station on charges of carrying out violence at the New Year’s opening ceremony in protest of receiving a reduced year-end bonus.

In the complaint, Hyundai Motors wrote, “The labor union leaders committed violence and disrupted the New Year opening ceremony which was being held at the Ulsan plant assembly hall on January 3, and also on December 28 last year, the union refused two hours of overtime work, which resulted in failing to produce 461 cars and amounted to approximately 8.8 billion won in losses.” The management is planning to sue the union for damages.

Eighty Hyundai Motor labor union leaders and members disrupted the New Year opening ceremony taking place at the assembly hall by spraying fire extinguishers. In the process of preventing vice-chairman Kim Dong-jin and president Yoon Yeo-chul from attending the ceremony, unionists acted out violence against president Yoon, injuring him and a dozen of management security officials.

On January 4, Hyundai Motors released their company newsletter ‘The Walk Together,’ which said, “A bonus is given as a reward for production earnings. After failing to even reach the downward revision target due to their frequent strikes, the union is unreasonably demanding that they should be given 150% of their pay which is the standard amount when the full production goal is achieved.” The management added, “Recently, some have claimed that it is customary to pay 150% as a year-end bonus, but even if it were customary, wrong customs should be corrected.

The labor union disputed that, saying, “We asked that the New Year opening ceremony be delayed because of our differences on the bonus issue, but the management went on with it so the clash was inevitable.”

Starting from this day the labor union will refuse to do extra duty or overwork until the bonus issue is resolved, and the union representative and subcommittee members will hold all-night strikes in the labor union office. The union had planned to hold a denouncing rally in front of the Ulsan plant main building on January 4 at 5 p.m. but cancelled it because of the rain weather.

If the management does not pay a 50% bonus by January 5, the union will hold a demonstration in front of the Hyundai Motors main building in Yangjae-dong on January 10.

The labor union demanded that the issue be specially negotiated, and the management appears to be ready for informal discussion but not formal negotiation.