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Unionized workers continue strike on top of tower cranes

All News 17:07 June 05, 2019

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- Tower crane workers continued a nationwide strike for the third day on Wednesday, amid concerns that a possible protracted stoppage could hamper construction projects.

Around 2,500 unionized workers have been staging sit-ins on top of tower cranes at construction sites, calling for a pay raise and urging the government to ban the use of smaller tower cranes that they claim are prone to accidents.

They want a 7-percent wage hike and better working conditions. The workers are also calling on the government to prevent builders from using tower cranes whose load weight is less than 3 tons and which are operable with remote control equipment.

This photo, taken on June 5, 2019, shows a site in western Seoul where the construction of apartment buildings is on hold due to tower crane workers' nationwide strike. (Yonhap)

"We will keep staging the strike until management and labor reach a deal (on wages and collective bargaining)," Jung Myung-ho, head of the tower-crane labor union in North Chungcheong Province, said.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions announced a plan for an unlimited strike Monday. It is rare that the country's two major umbrella labor groups jointly participate in a work stoppage.

In south Gyeonggi Province, around 540 unionized workers are on strike on top of a similar number of tower cranes at more than 120 construction sites.

In the southern port city of Busan, the operation of 76 cranes was suspended at 27 sites.

There seems to be no immediate damage from the strike as builders have finished urgent construction tasks, as well as those that utilize other equipment.

An association of local builders estimated that the strike stopped the operation of 70 percent of all tower cranes in use at construction sites.

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