|▲ The Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU) declares a general strike and rally in Seoul on Jul. 13 to attain the solidarity wage among workers and fair transactions between prime contractors and subcontractors in a press briefing held on Jul. 10 at Fountain Square in front of the Blue House. (Jeong Ki-hoon/The Labor Today)|
The Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU) decided to go on a strike with a demand to form a joint labor-management body to discuss the improvement of the wage system in the metal industry which shall provide higher rates of wage increase to the irregular workers.
KMWU held a press briefing on Jul. 10 at Fountain Square in front of the Blue House and announced that "we will go on a general strike with an overwhelming vote in support of the strike by the union members." KMWU has held a ballot of union members for industrial action for three days from Jul. 4, because KMWU' demand was not accepted by the Korea Metal Industrial Employers Association(KMIEA) during nine rounds of industry-based negotiations commenced from April this year. 78,307 out of 92,850 union members excluding those whose unions have finished collective bargaining or just started negotiations with the management participated in a ballot and 62,406(79.69%) voted in favor of industrial action.
KMWU demanded △ 5.3% basic wage increase for the workers of prime contractors(mainly, large enterprises), 7.4% for the workers of subcontractors(small and medium sized enterprises), △ formation of a labor-management joint committee to establish an industrial wage system, △ conversion of irregular workers in long-lasting, continuous, life and safety tasks into regular workers, △ minimum wage of 10,000 won(US$8.92) in the metal industry.
KMIEA made a counterproposal of 7,880 won(US$7.03) for the minimum wage of the metal industry and also disagreed with the rest of the demand. The situation on negotiations at the individual workplaces which are not participating in the industry-based negotiation looks almost similar. Hyundai Motors chapter of the KMWU, for example, declared a breakdown of negotiations on Jun. 20, after twelve rounds of negotiations with the management . Hyundai Motors reportedly takes a position that intervention in the wage issue of subcontractors may violate the prohibition on unfair transactions, and the redesigning and improvement of the wage system is an issue for the labor and management of individual firms.
reported by Yang Ou-ram
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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