After the South Korean government called their actions “an illegal occupation of a place of manufacturing,” shipyard workers have gone on a hunger strike to bring attention to their demands.
On Monday, President Yoon Suk-youl called for the illegal strikes at industrial locations to come to an end.
Since June, subcontractor workers at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) have been fighting for pay increases and safer working conditions. The company denied a request for a 30% pay raise, and the workers have continued to protest as the union waits for an agreement to be made.
During the strikes, DSME workers have occupied ships at the company’s dry dock at Okpo shipyard on Geoje Island. Their takeover has also postponed the delivery of a large crude-oil carrier (VLCC) and stopped the construction and the launch of an additional three VLCCs.
The president has urged the government to get involved to come up with a resolution, as the strike causes significant economic harm.
DSME has already been struggling financially. Since the start of the strike, the shipyard has lost 26 billion won ($19.80 million) a day, which comes to 570 billion won as of July 14.