According to The Korea Times, Hyundai Motor’s union has criticised its management for the recent personnel changes in which four young relatives of chairman Chung Mong-koo were promoted to vice presidential posts.

In a statement, the union contended that management is going against the desire for chaebol reform, which President-elect Roh Moo-hyun pledged and the public wants”.

Calling the promotions “pure nepotism,” the union claimed that top officials have completely ignored the principles of fairness in personnel management and said “we deplore it”.

“This is what they have touted as a global firm seeking to become one of the world’s top five carmakers,” the union charged sarcastically.

On Friday, Hyundai Kia Motor group appointed Chung Oue-sun, 33, the only son of the group’s chairman, to the post of Hyundai Motor vice president.

The other relatives were apponited to vice presidencies of the group’s subsidiaries. The three are Il-sun, 33, the chairman’s nephew (Blue & Green Steel), Chung Tae-young, 42, the chairman’s second son-in-law (Hyundai Card) and Shin Sung-jae, 34, the chairman’s third son-in-law (Hyundai Hysco).

“The chairman’s only son, Oue-sun, made a meteoric rise from director in 1999 to managing director in 2000, senior managing director last year and vice president now. This is apparent discrimination against hardworking employees of the group,” the union added.

Such promotions raise questions over Hyundai Motor’s personnel management policy and paved the way for “inheritance of chairmanship” by the heir-apparent whose management skills have yet to be proven, according to the statement.

“The leadership is resorting to anti-social practices of nepotism and wayward management, which caused the financial crisis in late 1997,” the union said.

The union vowed that it would aggressively oppose the latest personnel moves in cooperation with unions of other subsidiaries such as Kia Motors, Hyundai Hysco and INI Steel, the Korea Times said.