SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean steelmaker POSCO is currently facing its first labor strike crisis since its foundation.
The labor union at POSCO, which is affiliated with the Korean Metal Workers’ Union under the Federation of Korean Trade Unions umbrella, will hold an inaugural ceremony for its Dispute Countermeasures Committee at the Gwangyang steel mill on Wednesday, according to industry sources.
The inauguration ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Pohang steel mill a day later, on Thursday.
Before the committee’s inauguration, the labor union plans to convene a temporary delegate meeting on Wednesday. During this meeting, members will discuss future actions and whether or not to initiate a labor strike.
Based on the outcomes of the deliberations, the labor union will conduct a vote on whether to strike. If the strike materializes, it would mark the first strike in the history of POSCO, founded in 1968.
After more than 50 years of peaceful collaboration, the labor-management relationship at POSCO began to deteriorate due to growing discontent regarding employee treatment.
The labor union, with about 11,000 members, asserts that employees have not received adequate compensation based on the average wage growth over the past five years.
For POSCO workers, the annual wage growth was 2.9 percent in 2018, 2 percent in 2019, 0 percent in 2020, 2.5 percent in 2021, and 3.1 percent in 2022, resulting in an annual average of 2.1 percent.
While the average annual wage growth for employees remained at the 2 percent level, the substantial increase in the salary of POSCO Holdings Chairman Choi Jeong-woo has significantly upset the labor union.
In 2022, his annual wage amounted to 2.89 billion won (US$2.18 million), marking a 58.1 percent increase from the 1.83 billion won he earned the previous year.
Furthermore, he received a bonus of 1.88 billion won last year, which exceeded his annual wage from the previous year.
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)