Hyundai Motor is expected to hire more subcontracted workers as regular employees. The company is planning to complete a special agreement to turn 6,000 irregular workers into regular ones, which was signed with the labor union and subcontractor union in 2014, by the end of this year and select more subjects next year.
“We've converted 5,700 subcontract workers to regular ones over the past five years since 2012, and will hire 300 more regular workers to complete the initial plan this year," Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Yoon Yeo-chul, who is in charge of labor management, said at the 2017 Hyundai-Kia Partners Job Fair at COEX in Seoul on May 29.
Yoon also suggested that the company can hire more irregular workers as regular ones later. When reporters asked about the possibility of turning more subcontract workers to regular ones, he said, “There are no specific plans for that yet. But, we are considering it.”
Hyundai Motor signed a tentative employment agreement for its subcontract workers with the labor union and subcontractor union in August 2014. They agreed to hire a total of 6,000 regular workers with an additional 2,000 in September 2015. Accordingly, the company turned its 4,000 irregular employees into regular ones in 2015, 1,200 in 2016 and 500 in the first half of this year. When it hires 300 more regular workers by the end of the year, Hyundai Motor will complete its plan to hire 6,000 subcontracted workers as regular employees.
Yoon said the company can convert more subcontract workers to regular ones as part of his plan to join President Moon Jae-in's push for "zero irregular workers." According to the Ministry of Employment & Labor, there are 66,934 workers belonging to Hyundai Motor and 10,207 workers not belonging to the company as of the end of last year. Although the company has hired nearly 6,000 irregular workers as regular ones, more than 10,000 out-sourced employees still wear Hyundai Motor uniforms and work at Hyundai Motor plants.
Industry sources expect that Hyundai Motor will convert more subcontract production workers to regular ones. However, the court’s decision for regular employment of subcontract employees is the burdensome issue for Hyundai Motor. For a class action suit filed by subcontract workers in 2012, the court ruled, “Those who work at Hyundai Motor plants after subcontracting with its partner companies are also the subject for the conversion to regular employees since they are managed by Hyundai Motor.” The suit had the second trial last year and the Supreme Court will make its ruling on the case in a year or two years. When the Supreme Court also makes the same decision, Hyundai Motor may be forced to practically convert all subcontract workers to regular ones.