Aerial Protest of Hyundai Motor precarious workers 

CHOE, Byung-Seung & CHUN, Ui-Bong

on transmission tower in Ulsan City, Korea

"Accept the Supreme Court Decision! Regularise all in-house subcontracting workers!"

* * *

Precarious workers belonging to the KMWU Hyundai Motor Ulsan Irregular Workers’ Local have been calling on corporate magnate and chairman of Hyundai Motor Company, CHUNG, Mong-Koo, to accept the Supreme Court ruling and regularize the status of the precarious workers in Hyundai Motor Company facilities.  Hyundai had appealed the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 22 July 2010, but precarious worker, CHOI Byeong-seung won the final and definitive decision of 23 February 2012.

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The precarious workers have been carrying out strikes at Hyundai Motor in Korea and protest actions, symbolized by the aerial protest of successful supreme court case plaintiff CHOEand the general secretary of the KMWU Hyundai Motor Ulsan Irregular Workers’ Local, CHUN, Ui-bong. The two have been occupying a 50 meter high, 154,000 volt electricity transmission tower in minus 25 degrees celcius weather since 17 October 2012 in an aerial protest to call on Hyundai Motor to regularize the precarious workers’ status to regular, full time workers.

CHOE won court decisions in January 2011 and February 2012, holding that he was an "illegally dispatched labour" and not "subcontracted labour". The courts recognised the worker as a full-time employee directly employed by Hyundai after he worked more than two consecutive years at the plant. However, management of Hyundai refused to implement the ruling, which it announced on August 2012.  Following the company's denial, the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) initiated an industrial action for the regularisation of all subcontracted workers who work for more than two years. The company responded with lawsuits requesting damages of 16.2 billion won for strikes and sit-ins at the Ulsan, Asan, and Jeonju plants.


The ILO examined this case and requested that the government develop, in consultation with the social partners, appropriate mechanisms aimed at strengthening the protection of subcontracted/agency workers' rights"so as to prevent any abuse of subcontracting as a way to evade in practice the exercise by these workers of their trade union rights".KCTU


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