Hyundai hit by stoppage after worker suicide bid

SEOUL — Unionised workers at South Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor stopped work at engine plants in one factory on Tuesday after a union member set himself ablaze due to alleged bullying by bosses.

The union said workers at the five engine plants in the southeastern city of Ulsan stopped production at 1 pm (0400 GMT) after management rejected their demands — including an apology for the incident and punishment of those responsible.

“All engine production has been suspended… other production units may go on strike soon,” a company spokesman told AFP.

It was not immediately clear how long the stoppage would last.

The 44-year-old worker surnamed Shin was taken to hospital after setting himself ablaze at the plant on Sunday. The union said he was in critical condition.

Citing notes Shin left on his computer, it said Shin’s bosses had been bullying him since he filed complaints about engine quality to a senior executive and his unit came under management audit.

Hyundai Motor and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors form the world’s fifth largest automaker by sales.

Workers at its plant in the western city of Asan staged a two-day protest last June after a union member hanged himself in a toilet in protest at a perceived management clampdown on union activities.
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