Labor tension runs high at Hyundai Group

By Korea Herald

Hyundai Securities union requests prosecution probe its own executives

  • Published : Dec 4, 2012 - 20:34
  • Updated : Dec 4, 2012 - 20:34
Hyundai Group’s headquarters in Seoul
Tension is escalating between labor and management at Hyundai Group after the union of Hyundai Securities, a financial unit of the conglomerate, made public alleged irregularities of some executives last month.

At the time, unionized workers of Hyundai Securities filed complaints against group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun and several executives with the prosecution for seeking to “destroy” the union.

At a news conference, the union claimed that several executives including then-executive vice president Yoon Kyung-eun have mapped out detailed strategies to break up the union structure.

They revealed tape-recorded materials which they claimed show blackmailing and placation toward union leaders.

After the accusation, Yoon was promoted to one of the co-CEOs of Hyundai Securities despite strong protest from the union. Workers argued that Yoon has been suspected of engaging in corruption.

The union argued that some figures, including Yoon, were implicated in wrongdoings such as irregular insider trading in a bid to attain a dominant power in the group.

While the union also included group chairwoman Hyun in their complaint against the prosecution, Hyundai Group officials downplayed the union’s movement.
Hyun Jeong-eun

A spokesman said the details involving the union’s legal action has come from “groundless arguments.”

But the Hyundai Securities union said the group executives’ meeting, which was held on Sept. 26 in southern Seoul, will eventually prove irregular labor policies of the group.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Securities, which acquired the debt-saddled Daeyeong Savings Bank a year before, is striving to emerge as a finance holding firm via additional mergers and acquisitions.

This reflects chairwoman Hyun’s resolute to find new growth engines for the conglomerate amid the stalled inter-Korean business led by its tourism unit Hyundai Asan.

Following its takeover of Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul, a six-star luxury resort, early this year, Hyundai Group in particular is seeking to expand its financial business through its brokerage unit.

An official of the Financial Supervisory Service said that Hyun seems active in supporting Hyundai Securities, the third-largest player in the local brokerage sector, after financial authorities unveiled policies to foster big investment banks in the local market about a year ago.

“There is a high possibility that Hyundai Group will try to take over one or two financial companies,” he said.

The group said it would step up efforts to find new growth engines that Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun stressed in her New Year’s speech.

Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul opened at the foot of Namsan in central Seoul in 2010 under a 20-year contract with Singapore-based luxury resort and hotel developer Banyan Tree Holdings.

With the exception of some selected facilities that are open to the public, its VVIP club, an outdoor pool and other sports facilities are exclusively for use by the members of the hotel.

A membership is priced at about 130 million won.

By Kim Yon-se (