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Ordinary wage lawsuits imminent in shipbuilding industry

Domestic shipbuilders are facing lawsuits from employees following the recent court ruling that bonuses are part of ordinary wages.

The Busan High Court recently told the management of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. to give wages, allowances and retirement pays by regarding bonuses as ordinary wages. The ordinary wage litigation at this company, which has lasted for more than 10 years, is about to end while the same lawsuits are in the making at others in the same industry.

The management and the union are supposed to decide whether to follow without objection by Jan. 16. If they opt to do so, current and retired employees will be given extra pay regarding the period when bonuses were not ordinary wages at the company.

The litigation dates back to 2012. At that time, workers called for the management to include their 800 percent bonus in their ordinary wage and recalculate their allowances, incentives and so on based on the inclusion. The amount of money in question is 400 billion won to 600 billion won.

On Dec. 19, 266 HJ Shipbuilding & Construction workers filed a similar suit in Seoul. Experts point out that more such suits are likely to be filed at multiple shipbuilders.

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