Hyundai Heavy Sets Standard in Industrial Peace
By Kim Yoo-chul
Labor issues and more specifically militant unions are often cited as a key barrier to foreign investors who want to do business in Korea.
In other words, good relations between management and unions can be a big draw to foreign investments. By this standard, Hyundai Heavy Industries sets a new standard.
The world's biggest shipyard has been maintaining industrial peace, with no labor disputes, for the past 14 years, something very rare.
``Our labor union have entrusted all the authority involving wage hikes to the management since 1995 and we have held a ceremony to declare it, with labor and management promising to cooperate with each other and ensure job security, which leads to a win-win labor-management culture,'' Hyundai spokesman Kim Kwang-kook said.
``The two sides never fail to reach an agreement to reduce labor conflicts amid increasing business uncertainties due to stiffer competition,'' Kim added.
Industry watchers say that the union's ``no-strike'' pledge is reflecting the unions' full acknowledgment of the current unfavorable business situation.
``Although unions in the field of heavy industries are usually more militant than other segments, Hyundai Heavy has set a standard, which is enviable by the standard of developed countries,'' an official from the Korea Employers' Federation said. He added job security topped the list of grievances and Hyundai preemptively tries to address it in advance.