SEOUL, Jul. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., South Korea’s largest shipbuilder, will file a suit for damages this week against its labor union over disruptive action at the company’s shareholders meeting in May and illegal strikes, company officials said Tuesday.
Hyundai Heavy claimed it lost 9.2 billion won (US$7.8 million) due to unionized workers’ violent acts protesting the company’s split-up plan for a proposed merger with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.
According to the company, the unionized workers occupied a shareholder meeting venue in Ulsan for five days and vandalized equipment there.
Hyundai Heavy also said the union’s illegal strikes between May and July caused a production loss estimated at more than 8 billion won.
To make sure the union pays for the damage, early this month the company asked a local court to seize union assets worth 3 billion won. Its request was approved by the court this week.
In March, Hyundai Heavy signed a deal worth an estimated 2 trillion won with the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) to acquire Daewoo Shipbuilding, in which the KDB holds a controlling 55.7 percent stake.
Under the deal, the shipbuilder was split into Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) Co. and a reorganized Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The unionized workers have been opposing the idea, claiming that it jeopardizes their job security. They’ve already filed a suit to nullify the shareholders’ decision, claiming the it didn’t follow the proper steps.
Hyundai Heavy on Monday submitted a request for formal approval from China’s anti-trust watchdog on its Daewoo Shipbuilding takeover.
The company already made similar request to South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
Winning regulatory approval from domestic and foreign corporate regulators has been regarded as a key hurdle facing Hyundai Heavy’s efforts to complete the merger with Daewoo Shipbuilding, since the tie-up of the two major shipbuilders could reshape the global shipbuilding landscape with their dominant market position.
Hyundai Heavy previously said it also plans to submit bids to the European Union, Japan and Kazakhstan.