According to industry sources on November 20, unionized Hyundai Motor workers and the top management of the company have had five rounds of wage negotiations since November 7 but failed to reach an agreement.
The workers are currently demanding an increase in monthly pay of 154,883 won, (US$139) which is equivalent to 7.18% of their base pay, along with a bonus equivalent to 30% of the company’s net profit. The employers, however, are trying to freeze the wage in view of the fact that the net profit of the company showed a decline of no less than 16% during the first three quarters of this year.
With the gap showing no signs of narrowing, the workers are putting more and more pressure with threatening remarks. “The current business crisis is not because of ourselves but because of incompetent employers,” they said, adding, “We will join their efforts to overcome the crisis only when they take necessary action by, for example, selling the KEPCO site.”
They went on to say, “We are going to bypass the public criticism by means of tactics even more powerful than a strike.” This means they are well aware of the fact that their strike is not supported by the general public but they are still going to get what they need by putting pressure on the employers.
Many in the industry point out that the workers should take a step back this time with their average annual salary already amounting to 96 million won (US$86,000). Executive members of the company cut their salaries by 10% and those of managers and above were frozen last year and the same measures are planned to be effective next year. Meanwhile, the workers have staged a strike each year since 2012 while demanding a pay increase of 6% to 7%.