South Korea: 150,000 metal workers strike

25.07.2016

The Korean Metal Workers' Union has called a general strike across the sector in support of a dispute at Hyundai.

Tens of thousands of trade union activists demonstrated in Seoul, South Korea on Friday 22 July as part of a general strike of 150,000 workers across the sector. The strike is in support of a dispute over wages and conditions at Hyundai Motor Group.

There have been strikes at Hyundai Motors almost every year. In order to resolve the dispute and improve the bargaining position of workers at other companies, the Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU) called a general strike to demand sector wide collective bargaining.

Hyundai is the dominant multinational conglomerate - called "chaebol" - in the metal sector in Korea. 

Workers at Hyundai Motors plant in Ulsan walked out on Friday, and were joined by workers from Kia Motors, shipbuilders from Hyundai Heavy Industries and other affilated companies.

There will be further action tomorrow, 26 July.

Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, said:

"We welcome this action by the KMWU to tame the power of the chaebols and defend workers conditions. We offer our full support and solidarity to the metal workers of Korea."