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Seoul Metro union says it will stage strike this week unless demands are met

Politics 15:21 October 14, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- The union of Seoul Metro, the operator of subway lines 1-8, said Monday its unionized workers will stage a strike later this week unless their demands for improved working and pay conditions are met.

The Seoul Metro union gave the company management, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the Seoul Metropolitan Government until Tuesday to respond to its requests for the abolition of the company's wage peak system, manpower expansion and greater flexibility in work shifts.

Unionized workers of Seoul Metro plan to stage a temporary walkout from Wednesday to Friday if the Tuesday deadline is not met, the union said in a news conference in front of the Seoul Government Complex.

Seoul Metro unionists hold a news conference in front of the Seoul Government Complex on Oct. 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

"The wage peak system was introduced in 2016, but wage increases for existing employees have been restrained due to insufficient expenses to recruit new employees," the union said in the news conference.

Complaining about extensive labor shortages, it noted, "Nearly 100 stations on subway lines 1-8 have just two shift workers. Due to manpower shortages, some crew members even work on their off days."

The Seoul Metro unionists launched a work-to-rule campaign last Friday, delaying train services at some stations.

Seoul Metro's labor and management plan to hold intensive negotiations Monday and Tuesday to avert the subway strike.

The Seoul Metro union has 11,000 members, accounting for 65 percent of the company's 17,000 employees.

In case of a strike, the subway operation rate is expected to fall 50 to 65.7 percent on lines 1-4 and 67.9 to 78.1 percent on lines 5-8, officials estimate.

In a related move, the 19,000-member Korean Railway Workers' Union staged a 72-hour warning strike from last Friday to early Monday morning to press their demands for higher pay and better working conditions.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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