Unionized Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) workers put the brakes on the company’s plan to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) on Feb. 11. Likewise, unionized DSME workers are going to hold a strike vote on Feb. 18 and 19. The two sides are planning to go on a strike together against the planned deal.
Employment guarantee is one of the biggest concerns on the HHI workers’ part. “A large-scale dismissal would be inevitable after the acquisition of DSME,” they claimed, adding, “We have been anxious for the past four years due to the lack of employment guarantee, yet another uncertainty is looming large in the form of DSME, which has a debt ratio of no less than 216 percent and has swallowed more than 13 trillion won in public fund.” They continued to say, “We can say for sure that workers will be blamed yet again once our company after the acquisition deteriorates due to a slow recovery of the shipbuilding industry. The management set up a plan for the acquisition in October last year, and this means the management began to deliberate on it much earlier. In other words, the management has secretly pursued the acquisition while ruling us out, and we demand an official apology.”
Unionized DSME workers are putting more and more pressure on their company, too. They are going to adopt a resolution on Feb. 13 before the vote scheduled for Feb. 18 and 19. Leaders of the HHI and DSME unions recently had a meeting and agreed to form a united front against the acquisition. “The acquisition will devastate the local shipbuilding industry ecosystem and we call for the companies not to rule us out in the decision-making process and to prepare measures for stable employment,” they stressed.