One of South Korea’s biggest car manufacturing facilities plans to ramp up production this weekend despite a national strike by truck drivers that has hit ports and other critical companies, including steelmaker POSCO.
A Hyundai Motor union official said production at the Ulsan plants picked up slightly on Friday in some lines and the factory was operating at about 60% capacity overall, slightly higher than the 50% to 60% level in Thursday.
Hyundai declined to specify the status of its operations or delivery of finished cars.
“There are some disruptions to our production due to the truck drivers’ strike, and we hope production would be normalised as soon as possible,” a Hyundai spokesperson said.
The union official said an extra shift would be scheduled on Saturday’s factory, which had not been anticipated because of worsening parts supply issues. The company was pushing ahead to meet growing back orders.
Soaring Fuel Prices
On day five of the strike, some 100 unionised truck drivers, about a tenth of Friday’s show of force, assembled at the main gate of the factory in the southern city, protesting against soaring fuel prices and demanding higher freight rates to cover costs.
About 800 striking union members were rallying at the gates of a nearby major petrochemical complex in Ulsan. They had cut the number of vehicles to one-tenth of normal levels on Friday, according to union officials.
South Korea is a major supplier of semiconductors, smartphones, vehicles, batteries and electronics goods.
The strike has deepened uncertainty over global supply chains already disrupted by China’s strict Covid-19 curbs and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Transport Ministry said on Saturday it planned to meet with union representatives to continue talks aimed at ending the truck drivers strike and called on union members to return to work immediately.
At the country’s main seaport in Busan, which handles about 80% of the country’s container movement, traffic was down to a third of normal levels on Friday, a government official said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell