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Union will fight Hynix purchase.

Byline: From Register-Guard and news service reports

SEOUL, South Korea - The labor union that represents 10,000 employees of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. promised Tuesday to take ``aggressive action'' to block any deal for Micron Technology Inc. to buy the company.

Micron, based in Boise, Idaho, has offered $4 billion for Hynix's memory-chip operations - six factories in Korea and one in west Eugene. Micron has also said it wants a stake in Hynix's six nonmemory chip factories in Korea.

But Hynix, which acknowledges debts of $6.6 billion, might face a strike or slowdown at any of its 12 Korean plants as it inches toward an agreement with Micron.

The Hynix plants in Korea are unionized; the Eugene plant is not.

Union members contended that $4 billion is too low a price, and Hynix creditors indicated they would soon issue a counterproposal.

The objections of the Hynix labor union are similar to those of workers at Daewoo Motor, a bankrupt company whose fortunes have waned amid long talks with General Motors. GM has agreed to pay $400 million for Daewoo, plus assume $1.2 billion of Daewoo's debts, which exceed $16 billion.

But since signing a memorandum of understanding in September with Daewoo's lead creditor, the government's Korea Development Bank, GM negotiators have been frustrated by the company's inability to placate a union that wants guarantees against layoffs at Daewoo's aging plant in Inchon.

Hynix's labor union said it feared a deal with Micron might lead to job cuts, and said it also was worried that Hynix may not survive the sale of a division that accounts for 70 percent of revenue. The union also said the sale to Micron would erase Korea's status as the world's biggest maker of memory chips.

The union has cooperated with the sale of other divisions as Hynix tried to raise money to keep up with debt payments over the last year. Those sales plus other actions have cut Hynix's work force from 21,900 at the end of 2000 to around 15,000 now.
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Title Annotation:Labor: Korean workers say $4 billion not enough for struggling computer chip maker.; Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 20, 2002
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