Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) workers began a high-altitude strike, demanding a basic pay raise. According to the Labor Today, two people, including Mr. A, chairman of the DSME branch of the Metal Union, started a sit-in strike at a 40-meter-high crane on the first dock of the Okpo Shipyard at around 4 a.m. on Dec. 11.
The labor union branch has been negotiating with the company for nine months since the beginning of this year. The branch asked for a 4.11 percent increase in basic wage, and demanded the introduction of a single pay system, provision of performance-based payment standards, and new employment, but the management refused.
"The company's management performance has improved significantly as a result of the union members' sacrifice over the past few years such as wage freeze and return of wage," the branch said. "Basic wage increase is not an unreasonable demand."
DSME suffered operating loss of 1.53 trillion won in 2016. But, the company earned 733 billion won in operating profit last year, turning to a profit in the six years.
On the other hand, a DSME official said, "We need the labor union's additional sacrifices to normalize the company management."
The company asked for a 10% pay return to the branch. However, the company took a step back as workers' backlash became fierce, retreating to a freeze in their wages. The company's plan to pay bonuses (600 percent) in a way of installment payment also contributed to the high-altitude strike.
"Unless the company accepts the demand for a basic pay raise and withdraws its plan to pay bonuses on an installment basis, the labor union will continue high-altitude strike," said a DSME branch official.