In South Korea’s Kia City, ‘unhealthy jobs’ are higher than no jobs
However about 20 years in the past, Park was assaulted by unionized staff wielding metal golf equipment after he campaigned for the rights of momentary staff at one other firm, leaving him paralyzed on the correct aspect of his physique.
The assault additionally left him disillusioned with the strategy of South Korea’s forceful and sometimes militant unions, which have confronted rising criticism for shielding their pursuits on the expense of different staff.
Now, Park is working for the town of Gwangju on a proposed three way partnership with Hyundai Motor to construct a brand new low-wage automotive manufacturing unit, Hyundai’s first new manufacturing unit in South Korea in 25 years.
The $616 million plant would create 1,000 jobs, however at lower than half the wages of Hyundai’s unionized staff and with out most of the privileges they presently take pleasure in.
“The labor unions with vested pursuits ought to change. If not, their pursuits might be taken away,” mentioned the 53-year-old Park. “Unionized labor ought to withstand the truth.”
The unions of Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors, which collectively kind the world’s fifth-largest automaker by quantity, have staged strikes and rallies to protest the plant.
They are saying it is going to create “unhealthy jobs” and take away manufacturing and employment from present factories.
However in a metropolis that has seen a gradual exodus of producing jobs transfer to low-cost nations, many job seekers say they might work for the plant in a heartbeat.
Employment is a key focus for President Moon Jae-in’s administration as Asia’s fourth-largest financial system struggles to create jobs within the face of a slowing China financial system, U.S. commerce protectionism and elevated minimal wages.
The Moon authorities plans to offer monetary help to the Gwangju plant, and likewise introduce comparable government-business ventures in two different cities by June.
Officers hope it is going to result in a “U-turn” of Korean corporations which might in any other case construct factories abroad.
“This can be a daring experiment to resolve jobs and labor relations issues,” mentioned Park Myung-joon, a senior analysis fellow at state-funded Korea Labour Institute, who has been concerned within the undertaking since its starting in 2014.
The carmaking enterprise, the primary of its sort in South Korea, is the most important risk so far for legacy unionized auto staff, who’ve largely maintained excessive wages and advantages even with youth unemployment close to a report excessive and the financial system sluggish, Park mentioned.
“The costly union jobs will step by step disappear.”