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Hyundai Oilbank union renounces strikes

Workers entrust wage decision to management in return for job security

The trade union of Hyundai Oilbank Co., the nation’s smallest oil refiner, pledged to refrain from labor strife this year to concentrate on boosting the firm’s competitiveness, the firm said Wednesday.

In a ceremony held in Seoul, the refiner’s union members voluntarily entrusted the management with a full right to decide on their salaries instead of having annual wage negotiation.

They also vowed not to go on strike throughout the year by agreeing to require all union members to be present to operate the firm’s production facilities, the refiner said.

“We came up with the idea upon thinking of what we can to do to improve the company’s competitiveness and stabilize employment. This came from the trust we have for the management,” labor union head Kim Tae-kyeong said.

The management in return vowed to step up efforts to stabilize the firm’s employment, and boost its competitiveness and productivity. 
Hyundai Oilbank Co. CEO Kwon Oh-gap (right) receives power of attorney from labor union head Kim Tae-kyeong in Seoul on Wednesday. The firm’s union voluntarily waived their right to be involved in a wage negotiation this year. (Hyundai Oilbank Co)
Hyundai Oilbank Co. CEO Kwon Oh-gap (right) receives power of attorney from labor union head Kim Tae-kyeong in Seoul on Wednesday. The firm’s union voluntarily waived their right to be involved in a wage negotiation this year. (Hyundai Oilbank Co)

President Kwon Oh-gap said that he will make the firm a more respected and trusted one in society by involving in continuous dialogues with its employees.

“Today’s event was meaningful in that the firm showed a good model of a cooperative labor-management relation, along with Hyundai Heavy Industries which hasn’t had any labor-management disputes for the past 15 years,” a Hyundai Oilbank official said.

Hyundai Oil Bank has been gearing up to launch an aggressive marketing campaign since Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world’s largest shipbuilding company, retrieved the firm from Abu Dhabi’s state-run International Petroleum Investment Company in August after 11 years of legal wrangling.

The firm said earlier that it will go through major innovation in its corporate structure and culture this year to expand its share in the domestic market.

The local oil refining industry thus is expected to see fiercer competition, with Hyundai’s ambitious moves to enlarge its slice of the pie stimulating the market experts said.

The four local refineries ― SK Energy, GS Caltex, S-Oil and Hyundai Oil Bank ― have not been competing severely so far, maintaining a so-called “balance of strength.”

The rivalry is projected to mainly result from drives to adopt the heavy-oil upgrading process, which converts heavy oil products like bunker C to those with higher value.

By Koh Young-aah (youngaah@heraldcorp.com)
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