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Hyundai Cancels Strikes Partially, But Not Metal Union

From Donga| June 25,2007

Hyundai Motors union, a branch of metal workers' union, decided to scale back a planned five-day strike to a two-day strike on June 24, a day right before the strike was scheduled to begin.

The workers held a steering committee meeting at noon on June 24 and decided to hold the strike from June 25 to 27 as part of a protest against the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The strikes would have taken place from June 25 to 29.

However, the Hyundai motor union will continue its strike on June 28 and 29 as planned.

Lee Sang-wook, the manager of the striking Hyundai Motors union, announced that, "We will go on strike only on June 28 and 29 because we would like to focus on raising the effectiveness of our protest against the U.S.-Korea FTA."

The Hyundai motors labor union had planned to go on partial strikes in Jeonju and at a plant in Asan on June 25, at the Namyang research institute on June 26, and at a factory in Ulsan for two hours on June 27. After that, all members of the union would have held a final four-hour strike on June 28 and a six-hour work stoppage on June 29.

It is apparent that the first strike by the metal union, which was launched this year, will not go on smoothly, with its major members do not follow its strike plan. With Hyundai Motors canceling part of their strike schedule, Ssangyoung and GM Daewoo have planned to go on strike only with union executives, and Kia Motors will decide to go on strike or not based on a poll of workers on June 27.

Moreover, the union is suspected of suffering from internal discord. According to Article 70 in the union constitution, a branch that does not follow a decision made by the metal union shall be put into disciplinary punishment.

The co-chairman of the "Civil Committee for making a happy Ulsan," which comprises 140 civil society and economy organizations in Ulsan, Lee Doo-chul, said, "I am not satisfied with the fact that the strikes were not fully withdrawn, and I will continue to protest."

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