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Hyundai Motor workers ordered to pay record US$8.5m in strike damages

Publication Date : 20-12-2013


The Ulsan District Court on Thursday ordered part-time workers at Hyundai Motor Co. to pay the company a record 9 billion won (US$8.5 million) in financial damages resulting from their illegal strike.

The court statement ordered 22 of the 27 accused union workers to pay the 10-digit figure to the nation’s top automobile maker for conducting an illegal strike in one of the company’s factories in Ulsan.

According to Hyundai Motor officials, over 200 part-time workers began a strike demanding the motor company give the labourers permanent full-time contracts. HMC officials claimed that the factory where the strike had occurred was forced to shut down and forfeit the manufacture of 28,600 cars. Hyundai authorities further accused the union of causing the company a total of 320 billion won in damages.

Justices at the Ulsan District Court ruled that the strike had violated related labour laws.

“The defendants occupied the assembly line illegally in a violent manner and hence cannot avoid responsibility for the said damages” read the court statement.

Court officials sided with the conglomerate in an earlier case involving strikes by part-time workers, including an October ruling in which 11 temporary workers were ordered to pay HMC 2 billion won. Unionised laborers will now have to pay Hyundai Motor over 11.5 billion won in cumulative reparation payments.

The automobile maker has filed 16 lawsuits in similar cases, asking for 223 billion won in reparation payments from labor union members.

Labor leaders expressed anger toward the court for rewarding Hyundai Motor, while Hyundai officials called the ruling a more than reasonable judgment in a society governed by the rule of law.

“We will deal with illegal strikes in a firm manner, through the law, by sticking to our principles” said an HMC official.


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