Empty Shipyard And Suicides As Hyundai Town Grapples With Grim Future

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ULSAN, South Korea – When Lee Dong-hee came to Ulsan to work for Hyundai Heavy Industries five years ago, shipyards in the city known as Hyundai Town operated day and night and workers could make triple South Korea’s annual average salary.

But the 52-year-old was laid off in January, joining some 27,000 workers and subcontractors who lost their jobs at Hyundai Heavy (009540.KS) between 2015 and 2017 as ship orders plunged.

To support their family, Lee’s wife took a minimum wage job at a Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) supplier. His 20-year-old daughter, who entered a Hyundai Heavy-affiliated university hoping to land a job in Ulsan, is now looking for work elsewhere.




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