In a series of very constructive talks, HMM’s management and unions representing have hammered out a new salary deal yesterday. Salaries will be raised by 7.9% and bonuses of up to 650% of monthly salaries will be paid.
After enduring frozen salaries from 2011 to 2019, because of HMM’s poor performance in those years, the employees were disappointed at meager increments of 2% this year, after the company achieved a record profit resulting from Covid-19-related supply chain disruptions.
Staff expected increments of 25% this year but HMM’s largest shareholder, state policy lender Korea Development Bank, was said to have baulked at large salary raises after swapping debt for equity. Talks between the unions and HMM’s management started on 18 June and collapsed several times despite mediation by the government’s Central Labor Relations Committee as both sides could not narrow their disagreement.
Wanting to avert a strike that could mean a US$580 million loss, HMM’s management worked towards an agreement. While the mass resignation and strike were pushed back, some seafarers held a picket protest on two ships, Hyundai Brave and HMM Rotterdam on 1 September evening in Busan.