What is in this article?:
- Hyundai, Kia Under Fire in Korean Labor Skirmishes
- KMWU Case Strong, Analysts Say
Analysts note that while this week’s expected verdicts are subject to a lengthy appeal process, rulings in favor of the workers will have a resounding effect throughout not only Korea’s automotive industry but also the entire manufacturing sector.
Strike could shut down automaker’s Asan plant.
Managers atmay be facing a very tough week on two labor fronts.
First, they are in last-ditch efforts to revive stalled labor talks with theBranch of the Korea Metal Workers Union, which represents most of their employees.
Last week the workers voted to strike by a margin of nearly 70%, and the statutory cooling-off period for trying to resolve things runs out at the end of this week.
Also later this week, two Seoul courts will render decisions on two contract-worker lawsuits filed by the KMWU on behalf of 1,569 employees. The union claims they were performing the work of dispatched employees who worked alongside Hyundai’s regular workers and were managed and regulated by Hyundai supervisors.
Dispatch workers are those provided by a third-party agency to work within the plant of the dispatcher’s customer, but under wages, supervision, scheduling and discipline of the customer.
They are paid much less than regular workers, receive virtually no benefits and have no labor-union protection, as only the union representing fulltime regular employees is recognized under Korean law.
Korean labor law requires that any person employed as a dispatch worker for two years must be automatically classified as a regular fulltime employee and must receive all of the pay, allowances, working conditions and perks all regular workers receive.
Hyundai’s lawyers argue the 1,569 workers were not dispatched workers sent to the automaker by a third party or supervised by Hyundai employees. They say the workers properly were classified as subcontractor employees working under supervision of the subcontractors who supply parts, systems or services within the Hyundai plants.
Although in some cases they worked side by side with regular workers on assembly lines, Hyundai lawyers say that was a modified type of subcontracting in which the subcontractors regulated their attendance and gave them their orders.