Ssangyong Motor’s management and union leaders agreed Thursday to reinstate 455 workers who have been on unpaid leave since the automaker’s large-scale restructuring in 2009.
The agreement came one day after a union member attempted suicide and fell into a coma, calling for a prompt resolution of the drawn-out labor dispute at the carmaker.
“We have been stepping up efforts to increase car sales and production over the past three years -― the only way to solve the current situation,” Ssangyong said in a statement.
“We have yet to turn to a surplus, but plan to continue the recent sales momentum through overseas business and new car launches this year.”
|Ssangyong Motor CEO Lee Yool-il (right) shakes hands with labor union leader Kim Kyu-han after signing an agreement to reinstate all workers on unpaid leave in Seoul on Thursday. (Ssangyong Motor)|
The company, however, said that those who voluntarily resigned or were fired during the restructuring process are not subject to the reinstatement agreement.
Ssangyong also made clear its opposition to the ongoing political discussions to launch a parliamentary inspection on the company.
“If an unprecedented parliamentary inspection were conducted on an individual company, that would seriously hurt our corporate image and international credibility, leading to a decline in car sales,” the company said.
Ssangyong Motor, then controlled by China’s Shanghai Automotive, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 due to a liquidity squeeze and shed some 2,600 workers from its payroll.
Even though 455 of them were employees on unpaid leave who were supposed to be called back once the company regained traction, the promise had not been followed until Mahindra and Mahindra Limited acquired Ssangyong in 2010.
When he attended a parliamentary hearing last October, Mahindra president Pawan Goenka hinted that the company could rehire workers on unpaid leave in phases by 2014.
At the time, he also said that the Indian company has invested 450 billion won into Ssangyong and an additional 800 billion won could be poured in product development and production facilities in the next four to five years.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com)