Marine Link
Thursday, June 20, 2024

Shipbuilder DSME Preps Lawsuit Against Striking Contract Workers

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 23, 2022

(Photo: DSME)

(Photo: DSME)

South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd on Wednesday said it is preparing to file a lawsuit for damages against the contract worker union that prevented production in June and July with a 51-day strike.

The move could renew friction between the firm and contract workers, who occupied the shipbuilder's main dock to protest, they said, against wages falling behind those of regular workers. Read full story

Details of the lawsuit have yet to be decided, a Daewoo spokesperson told Reuters.

A spokesperson for the union - the Korea Metal Workers' Union Geoje Tongyeong Goseong Shipbuilding Subcontracting Branch - could not be reached for comment.

Daewoo is considering claiming damages of about 50 billion won ($37.30 million) from the union, newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified shipbuilding industry sources.

However, it is undecided whether to sue the contract worker union members who occupied the dock and stopped production, or all members of the union, Chosun Ilbo reported.

Daewoo previously said the dispute cost it more than $400 million by mid-July.

About 100 contract workers at Daewoo demanded a 30% wage hike in June. They accepted a 4.5% increase after occupying and stopping construction at Daewoo's main dock in a strike that lasted for 51 days.

Contract workers said they were only paid about the minimum wage of 9,160 won per hour, even for critical work such as welding and even though many had more than 10 years' experience.

Since the strike ended, Daewoo has foregone much of the South Korean shipbuilding industry's traditional summer holidays to make up for delayed construction.

($1 = 1,340.5600 won)

(Reuters - Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)