Workers at Hyundai (HMC) Ulsan plant in South Korea were on wildcat last week for higher wages.
The following is a report from a contact in Ulsan:
On the 3rd(Mon), there was a kind of wildcat strike in HMC Ulsan plant. HMC Ulsan plant has five final assembly plants. This strike was broken at the 1st plant which has been the militant vanguard in the history of HMC workers' struggle. In each shift(day-night), regular workers go on strike for the last hour of an 8- hour shift. On the day shift 800 workers participated in the strike-assembly, and on the night shift 1,200 workers did. The number of total regular workers in the 1st plant is about more than 3,000, and all of them are union members. Thus two thirds of regular-contract workers participated in the strike-assembly. (The number of casual workers in the 1st plant is less than 800. They did not participate the strike-assembly, even though the product-line was stopped. They were merely scattered.)
The leading group of this strike were the representatives of HMC regular workers' union. Each of them represents about 100 unionists. They stopped the product-line ignoring the legal procedure both in labor-law and the union-statutes.
On the 4th(Tue), the strike was stopped after long debates among the representatives. The militant representatives could not win out over the bureaucratic representatives. But it has not yet ended. There are some possibilities that another wildcat strike will break out sooner or later.
The workers' demand can be summarized as a decent wage now that HMC has reduced production capacity in Korea. The bureaucratic solution is to ask the boss for more production capacity. The militant solution is demanding a decent wage having nothing to do with production capacity.
Members of the recently-formed HMC rank-and-file opposition, uniting for the first time regular and casual workers, played key roles in the strike.