Unionized Hyundai Motor workers elected Lee Sang-soo, a utilitarian candidate, as their new leader instead of Moon Yong-moon, a hawkish candidate. They won 21,838 votes and 21,433 votes, respectively. Much attention is being paid to whether the unexpected election result will lead to a change in labor-management relations in the local automobile industry.
Previously, the new leader competed with three hard-line candidates and it was predicted that one of the three would be elected. However, the moderate candidate won the election with young union members supporting him. Under the circumstances, it is said that the Hyundai Motor labor union is showing some signs of change away from its traditionally militant stance. This year, the union concluded their wage negotiations without a strike for the first time in eight years.
The union, which is a part of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, has approximately 50,000 members as the largest trade union in South Korea. It is an organization indicating future labor-management relations in the country and its change implies that South Korean companies’ overall labor-management relations can change.