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339 Book Café 2 – Part 2

 Gun-Ho finally grabbed the microphone again in an effort to end the nonsense demands.

"This company could survive the court receivership because of your hard work. I do recognize the hard work of every single one of you and I deeply appreciate it. However, if the company raises your salary retroactively for the period of the court receivership where the salary raise was frozen, the rate of increase in total will be more than 30%. It is true that our company's sales revenue has recently increased a lot since our new co-president-President Song brought in new product orders. But, if we increase your salary by 30%, we will fall into a financial crisis again and will have to start the court receivership once again."

The labor union's leader grabbed his microphone to respond,

"The pay gap between us and the workers in our competitor companies is 30% already."

"If the sales revenue is on the rise by 30%, I can raise your salary by 30%. However, our rate of sales revenue increase is less than 10% right now. I can't increase your salary more than we make, but I will adjust your salary according to our sales revenue's growth. Also, I've been discussing with President Song and our internal auditor earlier that maybe we should distribute the company shares to our employees."

"Our company's shares?"

The member of the labor union started talking noisily.

Gun-Ho continued to talk,

"Our company has been experiencing the growth in the sales work and productivity. If we continue to do so, we are expecting to successfully go public. Right before we go public, we are thinking of distributing the company shares to our workers according to the number of years you have been working with us. The main reason that President Song joined us in the first place was to help our company to go public. He is the expert in that field."

A member of the labor union grabbed the microphone.

"A company's stock can become worthless. Owning a company's stock can't guarantee anything."

"Making the company's shares worthless or valuable is up to you. It's not me who decides the value of the company. If we continue to grow and increase our productivity and sales revenue, then the value of our company's shares will increase accordingly. Otherwise, it could become worthless as you just said."

Silence filled the air for a moment.

Gun-Ho continued to talk,

"We say, 'look before you leap.' Our company just got out of the court receivership. It is clearly too much to ask such a company to raise your wage by 30%. I'm sure that some of you agree with me. For this year, I can apply the minimum required increase rate of the salary. The company will gradually compensate for your work according to the growth rate of the company. If the company is doing well, its stock value will increase as well, and that will help with your family's financial situation dramatically. I hope we all do good work together in growing our company."

Gun-Ho stepped down from the platform and offered his hand to the labor union's members for a handshake. Some grabbed Gun-Ho's hand and some refused to do so.

The leader of the labor union took the microphone and asked the company's representatives to leave the room.

"We will need to discuss it in private. Please give us a moment."

Gun-Ho, President Song and other executives walked out of the auditorium. On the way out, President Song said to Gun-Ho in a low voice,

"That was a nice speech. There is a requirement when a company goes public anyway. The company shares need to be dispersed among minority shareholders."

"What percentage is legally required?"

"It's 30%. If the shares are to be dispersed among more than 500 minority shareholders, then it would be 10%."

"Hmm. I guess we will have to grow our company with more than 500 workers then. A lot of work to do until then."

Gun-Ho grinned at President Song.

"Why don't we all go to my office and have a cup of coffee?"

The executives congregated in Gun-Ho's office.

"Do you think they will take your offer, sir?"

"I'm not sure. I guess they have some members who are more radical than the others, and some must be soft. They are probably vigorously debating right now. Are there any external influences on them?"

"I haven't noticed any yet."

"Mr. General Affairs Director, ask one of your workers in your team to go to the auditorium and see if he can find out anything."

"Yes, sir."

The general affairs director came back to the office after a while and said,

"One of my staff went to the auditorium. He said they are fiercely arguing with each other right now."

"That means there are some members of the labor union who want to end the sit-in and take my offer. This can be considered as the fourth attempt of the wage negotiation. They must be very tired. You all must be extremely exhausted as well."

"We haven't achieved anything though. We should have reached an agreement with them already without requesting your presence, sir."

"If we reach an agreement today, why don't you all go to Onyang City and take a good rest and release the tension by taking a sauna there?"

The staff from the general affairs department came into the office and said,

"The labor union wants to talk with President Goo."

"Let's all go in there together."

Once Gun-Ho entered the main auditorium, he said with a smile,

"Did you take enough time to think about my offer?"

"We all agreed that it was too much for us to ask to retroactively raise our salary by taking into account the court receivership period when the salary was frozen."

"Thank you for understanding."

"We want to make sure on one thing though before we agree to the minimum increase in our salary for this year. If our company achieves more growth in the sales revenue in the future than the minimum salary increase rate that is required by the government, will you increase our salary more than the minimum rate required by the government?"

"Of course."

"Please note that we will record your response, sir."

"Sure. Go ahead."

"What percentage of the company shares are you contemplating to distribute to the employees?"

"I will distribute the maximum number of company shares that the registration regulation with KOSDAQ allows. However, we are not going to distribute the shares equally among the workers. We will have to consider each worker's level of contribution to the company, which is greatly different between the workers who have been with us for several years and the one who just joined us. That will be the major factor that we take into account in determining the number of company shares to distribute among the employees."

"What about the job positions? For example, are you giving 100 to the manager and 50 to the assistant manager?"

"We won't make any difference according to the job positions."

"Okay. We will sign the agreement then."

Gun-Ho stood up from the seat and extended his hand to the executives of the labor union. He also tapped their backs.