SsangYong Motor reaches tentative agreement on rehiring fired workers

September 13, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) — The labor and management groups of SsangYong Motor Co. have reached a tentative deal on rehiring those who were fired in the wake of the company’s 2009 restructuring efforts, officials here said Thursday.

According to the automaker, representatives from its management and labor groups; the Economic, Social and Labor Council, a presidential advisory body; and the Korean Metal Workers’ Union’s SsangYong Motor branch had a meeting and reached a tentative agreement on the issue of reinstating 119 fired workers.

They will announce the agreement details at the office of the Economic, Social and Labor Council in Seoul on Friday.

“I know that the parties agreed on reinstating the fired workers, but I have yet to hear details of the plan such as a timeline and scale,” a SsangYong Motor official said.

SsangYong Motor has been mired in protracted disputes with those who had to leave the company in 2009 after it was placed under court receivership. At that time, some 900 workers who launched a strike at the company’s Pyeongtaek plant were ordered to choose between unpaid leave or voluntary retirement. Those who decided not to pick between the two options were later fired.

In 2013, 454 workers who chose unpaid leave at the time were all reinstated, but 165 fired workers were not allowed to get their jobs back.

After a series of negotiations in 2015, SsangYong Motor’s management and labor agreed to gradually rehire the fired workers, and some of the fired workers returned to the company on three occasions. But 119 were still left out.

If the agreement approves the rehiring of all 119 of the fired workers, it will put an end to SsangYong Motor’s biggest labor issue, which has dogged the country’s smallest carmaker for the last nine years.

SsangYong Motor Co. CEO Choi Jong-sik (R) shakes hands with Kim Deuk-joong, the manager of the Korean Metal Workers' Union's SsangYong Motor branch, at a temporary memorial altar for late SsangYong Motor workers in Seoul on Sept. 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

SsangYong Motor Co. CEO Choi Jong-sik (R) shakes hands with Kim Deuk-joong, the manager of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union’s SsangYong Motor branch, at a temporary memorial altar for late SsangYong Motor workers in Seoul on Sept. 13, 2018. (Yonhap)

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