Majority of transportation strikers back at work

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Majority of transportation strikers back at work

The Seoul Subway Labor Union ended its strike and its members returned to their workplaces Friday morning after reaching a compromise with the Seoul city government over the introduction of a merit-based salary system.

The labor union went into strike on Tuesday, demanding that the merit-based salary system be scrapped, and the Seoul city government agreed to make a decision on whether to introduce the merit-based salary system only after consulting with the labor union.

“The management and labor will seek an agreement on the introduction of the merit-based salary system,” said a Seoul city government official on Thursday. “We will not fire employees whose performance are evaluated poorly.”

Lee Ho-young, head of public relations at Seoul Metro, said, “The city government will make a decision on the reformation of salary systems only after a compromise between the management and labor.”

“The merit-based salary system will not be implemented immediately,” an official from Seoul Metro said, “but will be phased in according to our conditions.”

“As concerns for public safety are escalating after the Guui Station accident in May,” an official from Seoul Metro, who participated in Thursday’s deal, said, “the management considered public safety first in the negotiation.”

A platform door malfunctioned at Ssangmun Station in northern Seoul on Tuesday and the subway operator, newly brought onto the job the same day, drove the subway out of the station without stopping for passengers. A Bundang line train’s electric supply failed on the same day and caused inconvenience to about 1,000 passengers who transferred to the next train.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon also expressed his concern on Monday as he wrote on his personal social media account, “The implementation of a merit-based salary system that fires under-performing employees without a fair and clear standard or social consensus will only trigger conflict.”

Seoul Metro, which runs subway line Nos. 1 through 4, and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit, which runs subway line Nos. 5 through 8, announced that they will end the strike and go back to work shortly after Thursday’s deal. A total of 2,092 workers of Seoul Metro and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit returned to work Friday.

Meanwhile, Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) on Friday announced its plan to recruit about 1,000 substitute workers to provide for a prolonged strike of railway union members.

BY SEO JUN-SUK [kim.yuna1@joongang.co.kr]

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