South Korean workers herald yard strikes next week

Employees across eight South Korean yards, including the country's three biggest, will put down their work in order to protest planned cuts. The workers feel that they will be forced to foot the bill for other mistakes.
Photo: Thorbjørn Hansen
Photo: Thorbjørn Hansen

Workers across eight South Korean shipyards are planning to strike next week in protest against massive cuts across the crisis-stricken industry.

Korea Herald writes that a coalition of unions held a press conference Wednesday at which they announced that the employees would stage mass strikes on July 20.

The three major yards, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering are among those set to be be hit by the strikes.

The Korean yards have been hard hit after carriers and offshore companies ceased ordering new vessels and platforms following the downturn across both markets.

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The maritime sector is an important part of the South Korean economy, which is why the government has stepped in with several initatives. However in order to receive the state assistance the yards must make significant cuts.

However the yard workers feel that they are being forced to foot the bill for poor decision-making for which they have had no influence. As such, the workers are now calling strikes to protest this matter.

"We have patiently tried to seek a peaceful resolution, but we realized that an all-out strike is the only way to defend the shipbuilding industry and our jobs," said a representative from the coalition of unions to Korea Herald.

The yards are not alone in struggling with their finances in South Korea. The country's two container carriers, Hanjin Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine are also in the process of negotiating with their creditors in order to bring down their costs.

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