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Daewoo Shipbuilding workers hold march to protest sale to bigger rival

All News 16:46 September 09, 2021

By Nam Kwang-sik

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- Unionized workers at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) have launched a protest rally against the sale of the company to bigger rival Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Co. (HHIH), the labor union said Thursday.

In March 2019, HHIH, the holding company of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group signed the deal with the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), the main creditor of DSME, to buy a 55.72 percent stake in the shipbuilder that had been mired in a severe cash shortage since 1999.

The deal could create the world's biggest shipbuilder with a 21 percent market share.

"We have been opposed to the deal as it was made by behind-the-scene talks, not by open bidding, and will cut our jobs undermining job security," Kang Ju-yong, a senior official at the DSME labor union, said by phone.

Kang also said the deal will stifle about DSME's 1,240 suppliers, because HHIH's shipbuilders have been supplied with ship parts by their own affiliates.

Workers of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) hold a press conference on Sept. 8, 2021, at Okpo shipyard in Geoje Island, about 400 kilometers south of Seoul, before starting protest march against the sale of DSME to Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Co., in this photo provided by the labor union of DSME. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Workers of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) hold a press conference on Sept. 8, 2021, at Okpo shipyard in Geoje Island, about 400 kilometers south of Seoul, before starting protest march against the sale of DSME to Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings Co., in this photo provided by the labor union of DSME. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

On Wednesday, about 30 union members started the protest march at Okpo shipyard in Geoje Island, about 400 kilometers south of Seoul.

They will also stage one-person picket against the deal around the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae next week.

As of September, of six countries -- China, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Japan, the EU and South Korea -- where HHIH applied for approval, three countries -- China, Kazakhstan and Singapore -- gave the green light to the deal.

The approval by the EU has been deemed as crucial for the acquisition of a majority stake in DSME by HHIH.

HHIH and the KDB had planned to finalize the deal by September, but the EU has still not resumed its review of the deal since July of last year.

The EU was reported to stop its review, calling for HHIH to come up with a solution to ease its monopoly in the areas of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers.

ksnam@yna.co.kr
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