6/29/2011

Hanjin Korea Strike may Not Come to an End as Reported in the Korean Media

The Korea Times and other local sources have reported an end to the labor strike at Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction.

The Hanjin union leaders, who began the strike in protest of impending layoffs, signed an agreement, which consents to the proposed layoffs in exchange for increased retirement benefits and an immediate return to work for the employees.

However, about 60 employees are protesting the agreement, with about 30 chaining themselves atop a 50-meter crane. Thus, a stalemate may be forming between the union leaders and these union members, thus, possibly extending the strike and the negative image to Korea abroad.

Under the new revisions to the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act (effective on July 1, 2011) disgruntled union members will be permitted to form new unions within the same company.

However, for collective bargaining, one union, for efficency purposes, must be selected to represent the other union(s). In this way, it is possible for disgruntled employees, that receive the support of the majority of employees, to take over bargaining rights from the present leaders. This case could be the first test of these revisions. We will keep the reader updated.

It was initially believed that this law could help to weaken the power of the most radical of unions. Let's see if the opposite can also be realized.

The implications of the revisions to the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act were previously discussed by us HERE.