Hyundai adds weekend production despite strike by Korean truckers
Hyundai is adding production over the weekend at its huge complex of five factories in Ulsan, South Korea. The increase in production dates is to compensate for the drop in output due to the strike and to catch up with the automaker’s production goals. Currently, there is an ongoing strike action in South Korea due to a truck union incited by rising fuel prices that began earlier this week.
According to South Korea’s Ministry of Transport, nearly 7,200 members of the union Solidarity Freighters are currently on strike. The truckers who are currently on strike represent 30 percent of the union’s members. Unions are demanding a pay rise and extension of a pandemic emergency measure to secure rates. The measure is currently set to expire in December.
Based on Deutsche Welle, truckers in Korea are not considered employees but independent contractors. The coalition is targeting protest actions against South Korea’s biggest conglomerates, such as Hyundai Motor Company, to hamper the country’s economy and force the government to act. On Thursday, Hyundai was forced to halve production at Ulsan.
A spokesperson for Hyundai told Reuters“There have been some disruptions to our production due to the truckers’ strike and we expect production to normalize as soon as possible.” Hyundai’s decision to add production over the weekend was a bit confusing as the automaker was forced to let employees drive newly built cars into the shipments.
Hyundai’s production complex in Ulsan is one of the largest in the world dedicated to car manufacturing. The complex covers 5.8 square miles and includes five factories that produce more than a dozen car models from Veloster to Santa Fe. Ulsan employs 34,000 workers, has 1,000-bed dormitories on-site, and is largely modeled after Ford’s River Rouge factory. The mammoth complex is capable of building more than 1.5 million cars a year. Only time will tell when and how Ulsan will return to full production capacity.