DSME Workers to Strike Against HHI Takeover

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 20, 2019

Image: Hyundai Heavy Industries

Image: Hyundai Heavy Industries

Workers at South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) voted on February 19 to strike to oppose Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI)’ proposed takeover.

According to labour union, the approval for the proposed strike heralds a bumpy road for a mega deal between HHI and the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB).

The decision to go on strike was supported by a majority of DSME workers in a meeting on February 19, Yonhap reported citing the workers’ 5,600-member union. The union said the precise date for the strike would be determined at a later point in time.


Reports of potential strikes emerged earlier this month after Hyundai’s plans to acquire DSME were revealed in January 2019. KDB, a state policy lender which has a controlling 55.7 percent stake in the Daewoo shipyard. HHI, the world's largest shipbuilder, has been selected as the sole bidder for DSME. KDB hopes to sign an official deal in early March.

"We will launch a strike at the most effective time," DSME union leader Shin Sang-ki said in a statement, warning workers are ready to exercise their "physical" force and stop a formal contract between DSME and HHI.

HHI workers have also opposed the integration of two major shipyards, fearing possible layoffs.  

If the takeover goes ahead as planned, the Korean shipbuilding industry is expected to be dominated by two major shipbuilders -- HHI and Samsung Heavy.

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