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Ssangyong Motor Sues Union for Plant Occupation

Posted July. 04, 2009 10:02,   


Ssangyong Motor said yesterday that it is suing the 190 members of the Ssangyong branch of the Korea Metal Workers’ Union for five billion won (3.9 million U.S. dollars).

The carmaker claimed it has been badly damaged by the union’s plant occupation.

“The amount of our claim will increase as their plant occupation has resulted in more damage. It will be almost impossible to drop the suit even when the relationship between labor and management improves since Ssangyong is under court receivership and its creditors have suffered a loss,” a Ssangyong management source said.

“The union’s occupation of our Pyeongtaek plant led to lost production of 7,900 vehicles and 172.4 billion won (135.8 million dollars) in lost sales through June 25. Most dealerships and part suppliers are about to go under due to financial difficulties.”

Ssangyong said it is confident it will win the case, saying, “The court accepted June 26 our application for provisional disposition under which the union members are prohibited from entering the plant and impeding business. That means the court also considers the union’s plant occupation illegal.”

Law enforcement officers sent by the Pyeongtaek branch of the Suwon District Court and creditors visited the plant yesterday to deliver the notification letter. The letter ordered union members to stop their plant occupation and transfer facilities.

The members refused to leave the plant, however, so the letter was put on the front door.

In response, the union on its Web site said it has no reason to receive such a letter and insisted its strike is legal. “Management should pay compensation for union members who have suffered from unpaid wages, violation of the Labor Standards Act, and layoffs, and withdraw its layoffs since it violated the collective agreement,” it said.

In March, the Seoul High Court ordered the Korean Railway Workers’ Union to pay 6.9 billion won (5.4 million dollars), up from 5.1 billion won (four million dollars) granted in the first trial, to the Korea Railroad Corporation. The rail company had sued the union for going on an illegal strike in 2006.

The amount was the biggest damage award in Korea for a strike ordered by a court.

Last month, the Daegu High Court ordered the union of Pohang Construction, which occupied the headquarters of POSCO three years ago, to pay damages of 500 million won (394,011 dollars) to the steelmaker.

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