By Nam Kwang-sik
SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- Mid-sized shipbuilder STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. called Wednesday on its unionized workers to stop their general strike.
The shipbuilder's unionized workers went on general strike starting on June 1, calling for a stop to six-month unpaid furloughs, which half of about 500 unionized workers have taken in rotation since June 2018.
Due to the strike, operations at the company's shipyard in Jinhae, 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul, are being suspended from June 17 till July 16.
"Some buyers are contacting other shipbuilders to discuss reaching a new deal to build ships, expressing their woes over the recent walkout," STX Offshore said in its in-house newsletter.
Even after its ongoing voluntary retirement program is completed by July 13, remaining workers have to reduce fixed costs and minimize the company's losses, the shipbuilder said.
STX Offshore has not secured any new orders in the first half of the year, with an order backlog of just seven ships to be built by the first quarter of 2021.
Union leaders of STX Offshore went on a hunger strike as well, calling for the reinstatement of workers under unpaid furlough.
"Workers have been under unpaid furlough over the past two years, but the expansion of the unpaid suspension by the company has blighted workers' family life," Lee Jang-sop, the head of the union, said.
STX Offshore has been under a restructuring program pushed by its main creditor, the Korea Development Bank, since 2013.
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