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Railway workers to go on strike Friday

National 13:20 October 10, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- Railway workers are set to begin a three-day strike Friday to press their demands for higher pay and better working conditions.

The government plans to deploy substitute workers and alternative forms of transportation to minimize disruption, as the walkout is expected to cut passenger and cargo train operations by 20 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

The 19,000-member Korean Railway Workers' Union decided to strike early last month, after its negotiations with the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) broke down in late August.

The union announced earlier this week it will begin a 72-hour warning strike at 9 a.m. Friday, as KORAIL did not come up with any improved solutions.

The unionized workers launched a work-to-rule campaign Monday, delaying train services by 10-90 minutes.

The union demands the company raise allowances, hire more workers and improve the job status of safety staff and affiliate companies' employees. The two sides had 12 rounds of talks starting in May but failed to reach an agreement.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport projects the strike is likely to reduce intercity subway operations to 88.1 percent of the normal level, high-speed train services to 81.8 percent and conventional train services to 60 percent. Cargo railway operations are expected to be cut to 36.8 percent.

The government has said it will take emergency measures to reduce transport disruption including deploying non-union railway workers and military staff to run subway and high-speed trains.

The authorities will also utilize express and inter-city buses and get cargo trains to prioritize import and export freight and key industrial goods.

This photo taken Oct. 7, 2019, shows passengers in front of ticket booths at Seoul Station as KTX train services are delayed by a railway workers' work-to-rule campaign. (Yonhap)


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