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(2nd LD) Deal reached to end Daewoo shipyard strike

National 17:20 July 22, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more details; CHANGES photo)

GEOJE, South Korea, July 22 (Yonhap) -- Subcontract workers at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) shipyard on the southeastern coast agreed to end their 51-day strike Friday, after labor and management struck a last-minute agreement on almost all contentious issues.

About 120 unionized workers from DSME subcontractors had staged a sit-in at the global shipbuilder's Okpo shipyard on Geoje Island, about 470 kilometers southeast of Seoul, since June 2, demanding a 30 percent wage hike, and improved working and employment conditions.

They had occupied an oil tanker under construction at the shipyard's main dock since June 22.

Labor and management representatives shake hands at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. shipyard on southeastern South Korean coast on July 22, 2022, after reaching an agreement to end a 51-day strike by the shipyard's subcontract workers. (Yonhap)

The striking workers and their employers reached a tentative agreement on a wage hike of 4.5 percent, payment of some special allowances and partial employment succession of workers from subcontractors that have closed their business, according to officials involved in the talks.

But the parties failed to produce an agreement on the withdrawal of a damages suit against strikers and the scope of criminal liability exemption for them and agreed to hold further negotiations.

The management has reportedly vowed to seek damages from striking workers, citing a heavy operating loss, but labor has denounced such a move as retaliation against workers who lack sufficient financial resources.

DSME estimates the aggregate operating loss from the prolonged strike to be more than 800 billion won (US$608 million).

The labor-management agreement came just before the shipyard begins its two-week summer holiday this weekend and the government takes steps to use police force to break up the protracted sit-in, which has dealt a heavy blow to the world's fourth-largest shipyard.


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