The labor union members of Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors have refused to participate in the general strike of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions scheduled for February 25.
The union of the former held a vote on the strike on February 18, in which all of its 46,000 members took part. The votes were counted on the following day, and more than 50% of the voters were opposed to participation. A majority agreement was not reached in Kia Motors, either. It is said that less than 40% of the union members of the two companies were in favor of it.
This is the third time that Hyundai Motor Company’s labor union voted down a politically-motivated strike. According to its rules, a strike can be launched only when more than 50% of the members participate in the voting and more than 50% of the participants agree to it.
Still, it remains to be seen whether or not the Hyundai labor union will take part in the strike, because the Korean Metal Worker’s Union determines whether or not to go on strike based on the combined agreement rate of all of the workplaces with which it is associated.
The voting result implies that the union of Hyundai will find it difficult to walk out. In fact, some of the members in the Ulsan factory of Hyundai had hung hand-written posters, even before the voting, to oppose the strike.
In the meantime, the Korean Metal Worker’s Union and the labor union of Hyundai hold a meeting on February 20 to decide on participation. “We need to watch the voting result of the entire Metal Worker’s Union before making the decision,” said a high-ranking member of the latter, adding, “Only the leadership of the union may take part in the walkout, as the case may be, if the majority of the members are opposed to the strike.”