POSCO has decided not to hold the Innovation POSCO Festival this year due to labor-related issues.
Held each year since 2002, the festival is an enterprise-wide event for reviewing the past year’s innovation activities and setting new goals for the upcoming year. Last year, the festival took place at the steelmaker’s plant in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, on Dec. 6 under the slogan of Innovation for Smart. It was attended by more than 1,700 executives and staff members. The Innovation POSCO Festival is one of the company’s biggest events, covering its subsidiary companies, overseas corporations, partner firms and subcontractors as well.
The company’s decision not to hold it this year has to do with labor union issues. POSCO, established in 1968, had no labor union until recently, but tension is rising now with some workers unionizing themselves. The top management of the company is moving hurriedly to handle the issues. The company recently allocated a special budget for each group unit for morale boosting and more communication with employees.
In the meantime, POSCO received representative negotiating body applications until Oct. 26. At present, the company’s union, which was established on Oct. 13, is a branch of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). POSCO workers who are opposed to the KCTU are preparing to set up a new union that would belong to the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU). The applicant with the largest number of members is slated to become the representative negotiating body to have talks with the management in the future. Promoters of the FKTU-friendly union said on Oct. 27 that they have 5,999 members. The POSCO branch of the KCTU has yet to disclose the number of its members. An administrative organ is likely to check the list of each, which can take at least a month.
A very unsettled atmosphere is going on in POSCO when it comes to labor union organization. The company currently has a total of three groups of workers, and the remaining one is the labor-management council that has discussed wages and working and welfare conditions with the management since 1997.