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Hyundai’s union busting in Germany

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3 July, 2020At the end of June, a German union member defended his rights as a worker, trade unionist and member of the works council at the Hyundai research and development centre, at the regional labour court in Frankfurt, Germany.

A committed trade unionist and member of the works council, this court case was another step in Hyundai’s efforts to get rid of the designer, hired at Hyundai’s Motor Europe Technical Center (HMETC), Germany, in March 2003.

The trial ended in a settlement between the two parties; the work contract will not expire before 31 December 2021 and he will receive a severance payment.

“On a personal note, the settlement is acceptable. But from a workers’ rights perspective it is unfortunate that the court favoured a settlement over a ruling of the case,”

says Georg Leutert, IndustriALL auto director. 

“Hyundai’s systematic approach to continue pushing him into a corner to finally get rid of him proved to be successful. It seems to be increasingly easy for companies to apply union busting tactics, often supported by specialized law firms.”

This court case was the second legal dispute that the union member had to bring against the Korean carmaker in order to fight the false accusations from the company whose objective is to fire him.

Hyundai’s behaviour is not only about this individual case; it is also about disdain for German union IG Metall, representing the large majority of German autoworkers. Hyundai has instead promoted a yellow union, AUB, created with support of Siemens management, to avoid any dialogue and confrontation.