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Hanjin to Lay off Half Its Staff

Inching a little closer toward liquidation, Hanjin Shipping is looking to lay off more than half of its white-collar workforce.

Hanjin management met with the shipper’s union representing office workers to discuss additional downsizing at headquarters, Korea Joongang Daily reported.

“The company delivered its plan to end the labor relationship by December by giving prior notice in November,” head of the workers’ union Chung Sung-hwan told Joongang Daily. “The employees have worked so hard to take care of the logistics disturbance even after the company fell under court receivership, but we are at stake of being thrown away.”

Hanjin filed for South Korea’s version of bankruptcy in late August, hasn’t gotten enough financial aid for a bailout, and former competitors, like Hyundai Merchant Marine have been sizing up its assets to claim as their own.

The newly born union—just established Oct. 11 to protect the rights of workers who remain—said Hanjin had roughly 700 white-collar workers for the first half of this year. That number now hovers closer to 670 and could be whittled down to 300 as the company looks to only retail enough workers to process sales of its U.S.-Asia route assets. Jobs for the 300 who remain will be confirmed if a shipping company acquires the on sale assets.

“Considering the current finances of the company, slimming down is inevitable,” Joongang Daily reported Hanjin as saying in the meeting. “Accepting voluntary retirement [which typically includes a bonus] is not a feasible option as well.”

As the world watches the logistics tie-up Hanjin’s fall has caused, the company has been selling its assets, freezing wages and cutting staff. Now, according to Joongang Daily, the company will cut other benefits like tuition aid, self insurance and free drinking water in the office.

A South Korean court will be accepting letters of intent to acquire Hanjin’s assets through Oct. 28 and the main bidding is slated for Nov. 7.