Hyundai is adding weekend production at its massive complex of five factories in Ulsan, South Korea. The increase in production days is to compensate for the decrease in output caused by a strike and to catch up to the automaker’s production targets. Currently, there’s an ongoing strike action in South Korea by a truckers union provoked by rising fuel prices that began earlier this week.
According to South Korea’s Ministry of Transportation, almost 7,200 members of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity union are currently on strike. The truckers now striking represent 30 percent of the union’s membership. The union is demanding pay raises and the extension of a pandemic emergency measure that guarantees freight rates. The measure is currently set to expire in December.
According to Deutsche Welle, truckers in South Korea are not considered employees but independent contractors. The union is targeting its protest actions against South Korea’s largest corporations, like Hyundai Motor Company, to hamper the country’s economy and force government action. On Thursday, Hyundai was forced to halve production in Ulsan.
A Hyundai spokesperson told Reuters, “There are some disruptions to our production due to the truckers strike, and we hope production would be normalized as soon as possible.” Hyundai’s decision to add weekend production is a bit confusing as the automaker has been forced to have employees drive newly-constructed vehicles into holding lots.
Hyundai’s production complex in Ulsan is one of the world’s largest areas dedicated to automotive manufacturing. The complex covers 5.8 square miles and consists of five factories producing over a dozen models from the Veloster to the Santa Fe. Ulsan employs 34,000 workers, has a 1,000-bed on-site dormitory and is primarily modeled on Ford’s River Rouge plant. The mammoth complex has the capacity to build over 1.5 million cars per year. Only time will tell when and how Ulsan returns to full production capacity.