KORAIL, the railway union in last-minute talks ahead of a planned strike | So Good News
The state-run Korea Railroad (KORAIL) and its union engaged in last-minute talks on Thursday to avoid what would be the first walkout by rail workers in three years.
The Korean Railway Workers Union has threatened to go on strike on Friday, demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Their action comes as the nation’s logistics and supply chains are already being disrupted by the truckers’ strike launched last Thursday.
Both KORAIL and the union are pessimistic about the prospects of reaching an agreement due to large gaps between the two sides.
“We are continuing negotiations with management today, but it seems difficult to reach an agreement due to wide differences in position,” a union official said.
The company also said most of the union’s demands are beyond the scope of its authority.
The union demands a salary increase of 187,000 won per month, a transparent promotion system and maintenance of the current criteria for performance-based pay. They also encourage the company not to count their increased wages after a court decision on ordinary wages as work expenses.
The company refused the wage-related demands, citing the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
If the union goes ahead with the strike plan, the operation of passenger and freight train services at KORAIL is expected to be cut by over 30 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.
The company, based in the central city of Daejeon, operates high-speed KTX, Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains across the country, and parts of subway services in Seoul and the capital region.
Their action will cause inconvenience not only to commuters, but also students who will travel to take entrance interview tests at some universities in Seoul, including Seoul National University, between Friday and Sunday.
It will be the union’s first strike since November 2019.
Meanwhile, Seoul Metro, which operates most subway services in the capital, and the union reached a wage deal earlier in the day, ending a one-day strike that had been carried out the previous day. (Yonhap)