According to a report by Korea Economic Daily the number of workers who left Korea's top-three shipbuilding companies - Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering - in the first half of this year is estimated at around 5,000.
As the shipbuilding industry was hit by global oversupply and lack of demand the country’s shipyards were forced to decrease their workforce as they launched drastic restructuring measures in an effort to return to liquidity.
As a result of the shipyards' top-to-bottom restructuring, caused by the slump of the global shipbuilding market, as many as 3,000 employees resigned during the January-June period of this year, with about 2,000 employees who applied for voluntary retirement programs being laid off on July 1.
In their earlier submitted self-rescue plans, the companies revealed that they would cut their combined workforce by up to 6,000 in 2016. But Yonhap News Agency quoted company officials as saying that this number could be even larger given the persistent slowdown in the shipbuilding industry.
HHI scaled down their workforce to 26,300 as of the end of June, down by 1,100 workers compared to the end of December. Apart from this additional 2,000 workers were subjected to leave the company soon under the recently executed voluntary retirement program.
Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) had 14,000 workers at their shipyard as of December but has reduced that number by 1,500 workers to cut labor costs. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) had a total of 13,199 workers as of the end of December, but scaled down to 12,819 in March and then 12,700 in June.
"As the business environment is getting worse (in the shipbuilding industry) and more workers are expected to apply for the voluntary retirement programs later this year, the number of workers leaving the shipbuilders will be bigger (than the present 6,000) at the end of this year," Yonhap quoted an un-named industry official as saying.