Union rejects Woori sale

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Union rejects Woori sale

The financial industry’s labor union strongly opposes the privatization of Woori Financial Group, calling it too hasty.

The labor union gathered at the financial institution’s headquarters in central Seoul yesterday and threatened a full strike if the government pushed forward with its plan to privatize Woori.

“The privatization of Woori Financial Group should not simply be seen as maximizing the recovery of public funds,” said Kim Moon-ho, head of the financial industry’s labor union. “This is an issue that should be handled delicately, yet Financial Service Commission Chairman Kim Seok-dong says foreign capital and private equity funds are okay even though we have had bad experiences with Lone Star.”

He continued, “Private equity funds are institutions that are obsessed with making short-term profits.”

At the Korea JoongAng Daily’s Korea Economic Forum last month, FSC Chairman Kim Seok-dong said he would not discriminate on bids for Woori, indicating that even foreign investors could take part in the bidding.

“The government is doing everything it can to sell off the financial group as soon as possible by even twisting the circumstances,” Kim stressed.

The labor union accused the financial regulator of having the unrealistic ambition of creating a global investment bank by establishing a megabank. There have been rumors that the government was trying to merge KB Financial Group and Woori.

The Woori labor union proposed an independent privatization in which the 56.97 percent stake owned by the Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. would be split between selling shares to the public (30 percent), employees (5 percent) and block sales (22 percent).

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