The Hyundai Motor labor union has decided to give up its position as a sole negotiating body after repeated requests and for the first time in eight years since the introduction of trade union pluralism. This is signaling a sea change in the relationship between the company’s management and the unionized workers, who have been regarded as one of the most militant trade unions in the industry, with the ongoing crisis in the industry forcing them to change themselves.
The union is likely to modify the clause that it is the sole negotiating body in the company at this year’s wage and collective bargaining negotiations scheduled for next month. Trade union pluralism in South Korea became effective in July 2011 and the union has paid fines since then while refusing to comply with the law and the government’s requests for voluntary compliance.
Experts are saying that the union changed its stance in order to get more practical benefits at the upcoming negotiations by diluting its image as a militant trade union with vested rights.
“The union’s position as a sole negotiating body is already illegal and ineffective, which means the union does not have to try to maintain it while being criticized for it,” one of them said, adding, “Besides, no new union is likely to be organized in the company.” Another explained that the change in stance resulted from internal concerns that its belligerence could strangle none other than itself with paradigms shifting in the industry.