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Union of Daewoo Shipbuilding to vote on strike

All News 17:20 June 12, 2016

SEOUL, June 12 (Yonhap) -- Thousands of union members of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, a financially troubled South Korean shipbuilder, said Sunday they plan to begin casting their ballots this week over whether to authorize a strike.

Some 7,000 unionized workers are set to vote on Monday and Tuesday, said Kim Jung-min, a union official. He said the result of the vote could be available on Tuesday evening.

He said it remains to be seen whether union members would vote in favor of a work stoppage.

The vote comes days after creditors of Daewoo Shipbuilding have approved the shipbuilder's self-rescue plan worth 5.3 trillion won (US$4.6 billion).

South Korean shipbuilders, including Daewoo Shipbuilding, have been under severe financial strains in the face of falls in new orders amid a protracted slump in the world's economy.

The self-rescue plan calls for, among other things, the spinoff of the shipbuilder's defense-related unit before attracting strategic investments or listing it on the local stock market to secure liquidity.

The defense-related unit builds submarines and vessels for the country's military and Coast Guard vessels.

The union has vowed to thwart the company's plan to form a separate company out of its defense-related unit if union members vote in favor of a strike. The union suspects that a spinoff of the defense-related unit is a first step toward selling the troubled builder to a foreign bidder.

Still, the company denied the charge, noting a spinoff of its defense-related unit is designed to improve its financial situation. It also said it plans to maintain control of the subsidiary in case the defense-related unit becomes a subsidiary of the shipbuilder and is listed on the local stock market.

The company and union are also at odds over the company's plan to slash its workforce by an additional 2,300 to 10,000 by 2019.

The company is pushing to dismiss workers who are underperforming, but the union said it is opposed to an artificial restructuring of the workforce.

Separately, the union of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. is set to hold a meeting of its representatives on Friday to decide on whether to go on a strike.


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