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Militant labor unionism and the decline of solidarity : A case study of Hyundai auto workers in South Korea

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  • Militant labor unionism and the decline of solidarity
  • Yoo, Hyung-Geun
  • Seoul National University(Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences)


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Title Militant labor unionism and the decline of solidarity
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Sub Title

A case study of Hyundai auto workers in South Korea

Material Type Reports
Author(Korean)

Yoo, Hyung-Geun

Publisher

[Seoul]:Seoul National University(Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences)

Date 2012-12
Journal Title; Vol./Issue Development and Society:vol. 41(no. 2)
Pages 24
Subject Country South Korea(Asia and Pacific)
Language English
File Type Link
Subject Social Development < Employment
Holding Seoul National University

Abstract

Based on a case study of labor unionism at Hyundai Motor Company (HMC), this article explores the changing features of militant labor unionism at leading large firms in South Korea’s export sector. Militant unionism at HMC has been shaped in the overall context of the confrontational nature of industrial relations and the strong workplace bargaining power of labor unions during the transition to democracy. Even after the company has grown into a global automaker and the living standards of workers significantly improved, labor protests and strike actions still prevail. Since the financial crisis of 1997, however, the aim of labor militancy has shifted dramatically from class solidarity among various types of workers to social closure in order to defend the narrow economic interests of the labor union members. This study concludes that “labor militancy without solidarity” comes to represent the characteristics of labor unionism at leading large firms in South Korea in the era of globalization.