Coway to transition customer service workers

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Coway to transition customer service workers

Netmarble’s Coway decided to directly employ more than 1,500 customer service (CS) workers, signaling a possible end to the dispute between the company’s management and labor union that kicked off late October.

The water purifier company said Friday that it has decided to hire around 1,560 “CS doctors” as full-time employees after a monthslong dispute with the union over the matter.

The CS doctors were categorized as contractors who receive fees on every maintenance and service request they fulfilled for Coway.

Coway said the agreement will help improve the work environment for CS doctors who work closely with customers, which could lead to improved service quality and consumer trust, adding that further details in the agreement are under discussion.

The issue was an important matter for Coway as protests by the CS doctors from October until late December caused significant delays in fulfilling customer service requests until the company’s union and management made a preliminary agreement to halt collective actions.

While the protests went on, many customers asked for payments from damages and breaches of contract as their requests were met with delays.

Coway’s management came up with the full hiring plan after its labor union warned of more collective action if its request was not upheld.

The announcement is also expected to help Netmarble have a smooth start in its control of Coway after it purchased the water purifier business, formerly known as Woongjin Coway, from Woongjin Group late last year.

The company purchased Woongjin Group’s 25.08 percent stake, or 18,511,446 shares, in Coway for 94,000 won ($79) per share in December after the water purifier company was put up for sale in June, just three months after Woongjin Group repurchased the company from private equity fund MBK Partners.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]

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