Korean Air inks deal with both unions for big pay raise
Korean Air Lines is rebounding from the pandemic, reaching an agreement to raise employee wages by 10 percent, which were frozen for the past two years.
The airline announced Friday it reached an agreement with its two labor unions — one for pilots and another for other airport and cabin crew employees — to raise employee wages by 10 percent.
The agreement was signed Thursday, and the increase will be valid for all of 2022.
Korean Air wages were frozen for the past two years. The unions agreed in 2020 due to the pandemic's toll on the company’s profits. Wage negotiations for 2021 maintained the freeze.
Korean Air Lines says it’s the first time in the company’s history that it was able to reach a wage agreement with both its unions on the same day.
“We plan to grow and work together with the labor unions, adequately responding to rising travel demand," said a spokesperson for the company.
The company has actually done quite well due to the cargo transport business.
Korean Air Lines reported net profit of 638.7 billion won ($492 million) in 2021, compared to a net loss of 194.6 billion won the previous year. Revenue rose 18.2 percent on year to 8.75 trillion won.
The carrier also announced Friday it renewed a certification from IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators Pharma. That certifies it to transport pharmaceutical products and vaccines for the next three years.
With business soaring, Korean Air is the only local airline to be exempt from the government’s employment maintenance subsidy, given to pandemic-affected companies since March 2020. If carriers keep employees on paid leaves at 70 percent of their salaries, the government pays 90 percent of the reduced salaries. Asiana Airlines and budget carriers such as Jeju Air, Jin Air and T’way Air will continue receiving those subsidies through the end of September.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]