Hyundai Motor Co. was forced to halt output at one of its plants in South Korea Thursday after unionized workers talked off their job after one of their colleagues committed suicide, the company and union said.
Assembly workers laid down tools at Hyundai's plant in Asan, about 100 kilometers southwest of Seoul, from 2:30 p.m., claiming that one of their leaders committed suicide earlier in the day because of what they called the company's "suppression" of union activities.
The 49-year-old union representative, identified only by his surname Park, was found dead around 8:30 a.m. Police later said he had hanged himself in a bathroom of the plant.
Police said they were investigating the exact cause of the suicide. Workers claimed that the company was trying to curtail union activities.
"The suicide was driven by the management's suppression against activities by union representatives," said Choi Dong-kook, a union official at the Asan plant. "The union will take action in order not to let the death wasted in vain," Choi said.
It was not immediately clear how long the plant suspension will last.
The Asan plant builds mid-size Sonata and Grandeur sedans and has an annual capacity of 240,000 units, company officials said.