|▲ provided by the Gwangju Metropolitan Government|
The city of Gwangju and Hyundai Motor reached a provisional agreement with regard to the investment for the Gwangju-model job creation. The details of the agreement will be unfolded on December 5. Hyundai Motor labor union, a local union to the Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU), which has been vehemently opposing the Gwangju-model job, is reportedly to go on a strike on December 6 or 7 to stop the move.
The Gwangju Metropolitan Government unveiled on December 4 that "the Gwangju Quadripartite Council [comprising the members representing labor unions, employers, citizens and the local government] will be held on December 5 for the debriefing of the investment negotiation process between the city of Gwangju and Hyundai Motor and the discussion whether the council will adopt a resolution in relation to the final agreement drafted by the city government as to the advanced labor relations." Prior to the quadripartite council, the final negotiation result will be reported to the Investment Promotion Council which is composed of the representatives of the city government, labor unions and experts. The Gwangju Metropolitan Government plans to sign an investment agreement with Hyundai Motor, when the quadripartite council makes a joint resolution through the endorsement of the final draft agreement.
The final drat agreement contains the formation of a council for coexistence and development aimed to take root stable labor relations, the introduction of an advanced wage system, and the realization of adequate standard working hours and laborforce management. The local government has yet to announce the details of the final draft agreement.
The issues in contention were adequate wages, adequate working hours, sustainability measures for a joint-venture finished car manufacturing plant, and the guarantee of labor union activities. The final agreement seems to include an item in regard to the introduction of a new wage system (referring to an advanced wage system in the draft) like the job-based wage system in place of the seniority-based wage system. The entrusted negotiation team of the Investment Promotion Council came up with a proposal in negotiation with Hyundai Motor that "[the parties concerned] will make efforts to address the negative effects of the seniority-based wage system in order to realize an adequate standard of working hours." Hyundai Motor would have no reason to reject the suggestion.
Regarding the level of wages, Hyundai Motor suggested an annual wage of 35 million won(US$31,500) based on the 44-hour workweek system, while the Gwangju Regional Office of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) demanded 35 million won(US$ 31.500) on the basis of 40 working hours per week. The difference is that it will be a 40-hour workweek or 44-hour workweek.
Notwithstanding the workweek difference between labor unions and Hyundai Motor, FKTU Gwangju Regional Office takes a stand to accept the 44-hour workweek even if Gwangju Metropolitan Government and Hyundai Motor would agree it after all. It is because there exist possibilities that the level of wage would be reset through the research study and the financial analysis before the plant begins its operation. Yoon Jong-hae, the head of FKTU Gwangju Regional Office said that "a concrete level of wage is not so important [at this stage], but the four principles of adequate wages, adequate working hours, joint responsibility management between labor and management, improvement of subcontracting practices should be upheld."
Taking such debates into consideration, it is possible that Gwangju Metropolitan Government and Hyundai Motor may not include a concrete level of wage in the agreement.
More attention is paid to the matter related to the labor union activities than the wage issue. When Gwangju Metropolitan Government and Hyundai Motor agreed to suspend the collective bargaining for wages and working conditions for 5 years in the preliminary round of negotiations in September this year, they faced a strong criticism from the labor circle.
The local labor circle and experts predict that there exists little chance for the adoption of such an agreement. It does not comply with the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act and the labor circle strongly stands against the attempt. When the negotiations got intensified in November, Hyundai Motor was known to have said that they had never made such a demand.
The Hyundai Motor labor union which has been standing against the Gwangju-model job creation project plans to hold an extended meeting of its steering committee on December 5 in which the countermeasures including an industrial action will be discussed. The Hyundai Motor labor union is mulling over a walkout on December 6 or 7.
reported by Kim Hak-tae
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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