Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hyundai Motor Union Votes Down KCTU-led Strike;or Not: What's it mean

There is no denying the massive public protests last week highlight that many in Korea are discontent. Most realize that the beef issue is but a focal point. I see the protest as push back against President Lee Myung-bak, his management style, and aggressive drive for change. Like we find globally, those protesting represent many group. In fact, those pouring into the street in Korea represented groups ranging from those concerned about education, the environment, to President Lee's move to privatize Korean health care.

A recent push to mobilize the Unions against the government was also launched. In the past, Unions, Farmers, and students formed the core for reform and protests in Korea. In fact, they drove the return to democracy in the late 1980s.

Interesting, this week the activist Korean Confederation of Trade Unions saw a setback, when workers at Hyundai Motor Union voted down a KCTU-led strike. However, union officials see the vote differently.

SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) -- The union of South Korea's top automaker voted by a narrow margin to join an industry-wide strike against the resumption of U.S. beef imports, but procedural anomalies have led to differing interpretations of the result, analysts said Tuesday.

Of 38,637 union members who voted, 55.9 percent supported the industrial action, while 43.6 percent opposed it. About 13 percent of Hyundai Motor workers didn't vote for either for or against the strike call.

Meanwhile, other sources note Hyundai Motor Union Votes Down KCTU-led Strike ( see below)

This is no real surprise. 1. The government protests peaked last week. 2. Folks are highly concerned about the K economy, gas prices, etc. 3. The beef issue is linked to the FTA talks, which in turn better opens the Korean car market to the US. Many union workers would benefit from the FTA and sinking the talks would only hurt them.

Korea Media notes....
Hyundai Motor Union Votes Down KCTU-led Strike
Members of the Hyundai Motor union on Monday voted down a general strike by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions against U.S. beef imports and forre-negotiations. It was the first time in the 21 years of its existence that the Hyundai union has voted down a strike, political or wage-related.


1 comment:

  1. Once again the HMC recent strike or not stance shows the complexity of Korea. Regardless, it's a one day strike and will have little impact. What's interesting is Kia appears to have voted to participate. How many of the HMC workers participate is still questiionable.