Hana, union can’t agree on a name

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Hana, union can’t agree on a name

Hana Financial Corporation proposed using “exchange” or “KEB” in the name of the new bank after it merges with Korea Exchange Bank at the end of this year, but the KEB union rejected the idea, deepening the long dispute between the two parties.

At the second hearing over an injunction sought by union members to suspend the merger process, a lawyer for Hana made the proposal and said Hana Financial Group promised there would be no forced restructuring.

He added that all jobs of KEB employees would be secure and working conditions would improve.

“We proposed speeding up the merger to the end of September,” the lawyer said. “But the labor union returned the proposal, saying the group was only repeating its previous position.”

In February 2012, Hana Financial Corporation and the KEB labor union signed a deal to manage the two banks separately for five years. During that time, both parties agreed not to discuss the merger.

In October 2013, the KEB labor union proposed converting so-called unlimited contract workers into regular employees a month before the merger, but Hana management rejected it and proposed to wait until a month after the merger.

Unlimited contract workers work for an unspecified length of time without renewing their contract annually. Although they perform many of the same tasks as regular workers, they receive less compensation.

Still, the union’s lawyer accused Hana management of pushing for an early merger without resolving contentious issues.

“Hana does not try to keep its promise to maintain the separate management of the two banks for five years,” the lawyer of the union said at the hearing. “It is not persuasion, but pressure, and they are not trying to negotiate, but to create conditions for pushing the merger.”

At the hearing, the judges called on both parties to submit summary documents detailing their core arguments by June 3.

The hearing was held after Hana recently submitted a petition to the court challenging a Feb. 4 ruling that partially accepted the injunction sought by KEB’s union to suspend merger procedures.

After the ruling, Hana scrapped its plan to seek Financial Services Commission approval to go ahead with the merger and all procedures have been suspended.

If the court accepts the appeal, Hana could resume the merger process, but if not, executives of the group must wait three months to appeal again.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [kim.heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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