HMM union strike crisis and labor-management negotiation

Yugyeong Jeong

HMM is a global comprehensive shipping and logistics company that provides transportation services. It plays an important role in the national economy by transporting national strategic materials such as crude oil, coal, iron ore, and special cargo as well as various import and export products. Recently, HMM’s labor-management conflict has deepened. Both the land union and the maritime union were in danger of going on strike for the first time since their establishment as they gained legal rights to fight. HMM management proposed an 8% increase, a slight increase from the previous 5.5%, but it was rejected with overwhelming opposition as a result of union member votes. This is because the company recorded good performance in the first half and the wage freeze continued for eight years. There has never been a strike since 1976, and there was concern that the strike by HMM would increase the sense of crisis in logistics difficulties in a world where there is a shortage of ships.

The labor-management negotiations took place for a long time from 2:00 PM on September 1st to 8:00 AM on September 2nd, and a dramatic conclusion was reached. The 2021 negotiation agreement includes a wage increase rate of 7.9%, productivity incentives of 650%, and welfare benefits of about 2.7%. In response, an HMM official said, “Considering the impact on the national economy, labor and management were able to reach an agreement through concessions.” The chairman of the land union said, “It is not an agreement that the members are satisfied with, but I hope that it will be understood as an agreement in a win-win situation, considering the growing public concern about the logistics crisis.” HMM labor and management promised to leap forward as a global shipping company based on the conclusion of this negotiation.

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