Subway workers threaten to strike

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Subway workers threaten to strike

Seoul Metro workers for subway lines No. 1 to 4 called for an extension of their retirement age yesterday and stated they will go on a strike if the employer doesn’t meet their demands.

The Seoul Subway Labor Union representing the Seoul Metro workers said that 7,225 people among a total of 8,118 union members participated in a vote yesterday and 4,584, or 63.45 percent, agreed to go on strike if the corporation doesn’t agree to their demands.

The labor union said it will go on strike at 4 a.m. tomorrow if they fail to come to an agreement today.

The workers are currently demanding the corporation extend workers’ retirement age from 58 to 60, which was shortened from 61 to 58 during the IMF crisis in 1998, and also compensate them for losses that came from the repeal of the progressive stage system that was applied to their severance pay.

“The union and the corporation have concluded an agreement for the extension in accordance with the extension of civil servants’ retirement age four times in the past but they are not honoring their word,” a spokesman for the labor union said.

The retirement age of civil servants in local districts has been gradually extended to the age of 60 since 2008.

“The Seoul Metro incurs an average of 200 billion won [$184 million] in losses each year,” Kim Wan-joong, PR director of Seoul Metro told the JoongAng Ilbo.

Under the labor laws revised in 2006, 65.7 percent of train drivers, all of engineers at control centers and 57.5 percent of maintenance workers must work even though a strike is carried out.

“Seoul Metro maintains a minimum requirement number of workers during a strike,” a spokesman for Seoul Metro said. “Though the strike is enacted, citizens will not experience much inconveniences, but the late hour operation will be shortened by one hour.”

By Yoo Seong-woon, Kwon Sang-soo []

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