Workers at Samsung Heavy Industries Co., a major South Korean shipyard, said Tuesday that they will go on a partial strike this week to demand the company nix its tough restructuring plan, marking the first time that a troubled South Korean shipbuilder faces a labor dispute.
The group of workers at the company’s shipyard in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province, announced that the partial strike is scheduled for Thursday.
Samsung Heavy, a unit of the country’s top conglomerate Samsung, does not formally allow a labor union.
Last week, worker members of the so-called “labor council” voted to go on a strike.
Samsung Heavy workers’ partial strike slated for Thursday afternoon is the first of its kind this year with their counterparts at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. set to take similar collective actions.
In early June, the KDB accepted Samsung’s 1.5 trillion won self-restructuring plan, giving it some time to try to ride out the crisis on its own.
The package, approved by its creditors, calls for the company to cut 1,500 jobs this year, sell non-core assets and suspend part of its production facilities, including floating docks, in gradual phases to cope with a fall in new orders.
Samsung Heavy is one of South Korea’s three major shipyards reeling from snowballing losses caused by falling global demand and tougher competition. The Seoul government and creditor banks, including state-run Korea Development Bank, have called for “bone-crushing” reform efforts, including massive job cuts.