By Kim Hyun-bin
SsangYong Motor and its labor union have agreed to reinstate all its employees who were fired in 2009 in restructuring programs, the carmaker announced, Friday.
The agreement was reached during a press conference at the office of the Economic, Social and Labor Council in Seoul, attended by representatives from the car manufacturer's management and labor union as well as those from the presidential advisory body and the Korean Metal Workers' Union's SsangYong branch.
Under the deal, the Pyeongtaek-based company will rehire 60 percent of the 119 workers by the end of this year and the remaining 40 percent by the first half of next year.
"For an early solution to reinstate the people who were fired, reduce societal tensions, and enhance the company, we have agreed to the terms," the four sides said in a press conference.
SsangYong has been in a long dispute with the workers who were forced to leave the company in 2009 after it was placed under court receivership, which laid off 1,800 workers. At the time, 900 workers who launched a strike at the company's Pyeongtaek plant were forced to choose between unpaid leave and voluntary retirement. Those who did not decide were later fired.
In 2013, 454 workers who chose unpaid leave were all reinstated.
After a series of negotiations, management agreed in 2015 to reinstate the remaining fired workers gradually, which brought back to the company 40 workers in 2016, 62 in 2017 and 26 in 2018 ― although 119 fired workers were excluded from the list.
The recent agreement to reinstate the rest of the 119 fired workers has put an end to SsangYong's decade-long labor dispute, which had plagued the nation's smallest carmaker.
"It is meaningful that through societal dialogue we are able to come to a close on the decade-long dispute of reinstating fired workers," Ssangyong CEO Choi Johng-sik said. "SsangYong Motor will do its upmost to resolve the problem and we request the government's support for and social interest in our efforts."