Jan. 23  2020
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Union And Railroad Management Reached An Agreement

Korean Railway Workers?Union (KRWU) and railroad management reached an agreement during their last-ditch negotiations yesterday, avoiding a massive railway strike slated to begin at 4 a.m.

Source  :  BASE21

by Christian / Base21 Media Activists

Korean Railway Workers?Union (KRWU) and railroad management reached an agreement during their last-ditch negotiations yesterday, avoiding a massive railway strike slated to begin at 4 a.m.

The management at the Korea National Railroad (KoRail) withdrew a plan to reduce the number of crew running a locomotive to one person and accepted a demand for more engine crew to ease labor shortages.
KoRail will recruit 1,500 workers in preparation for the operation of a high-speed railway linking Seoul and Busan and hire additional workers if necessary.

Today's JoongAng Ilbo reported the management wants to hire 2.900 new workers, but Kim Myoung-hwan, director of organizing of the Korean Federation of Transportation, Public & Social Services Workers?Union (KPSU) told Base21 that in fact it will be the number of 3.300 new working places.

The management at the state-run railway agency also agreed to reinstate 54 workers with their jobs fired by the management because of their activities during the strikes in the last years. 23 unionists who had to spend times in prison have to be rehabilitated.

According to Korea Herald (2003-4-21) both sides also pledged joint efforts for the development of the railway industry and agreed to push for its successful restructuring.

Upon learning of the agreement, railway workers who were staging sit-in protests across the country dispersed and returned to work. In Seoul after a large and powerful rally near Dongdaemun Stadium more then 1.500 unionists hold a over night rally in the stadium of Goryeo University. With this action they wanted to support the dealing delegates. On the other side, in the case there would be no agreement and they would decide to go on strike, they뭗 a place to hide. Because the Korean gov't declared the planned strike as an illegal action and in this case the unionists would be on the searching list of the cops.

In a statement issued after the overnight deal was struck, which was sometime in the early morning hours, KoRail head Kim Se-ho said the agreement will provide a catalyst for the speedy restructuring of the railway industry.
But the signing of the agreement was briefly delayed when labor negotiators found a "problematic" phrase in the management statement.

The phrase on how to restructure the railway agency effectively stated that labor and management will together seek ways of making KoRail a public company.

KRWU negotiators indicated that the expression previously agreed on with the KoRail administrator noted that a privatization plan would be withdrawn and alternative methods sought. But they made it also clear that if the gov뭪 wants to try to bring in bill for privatization through the back door?immediate the union will went on strike, Kim Myoung-hwan (KPSU) told to Base21.
Their claims reflected concerns that the government may push to privatize the railway agency while maintaining the veneer of a public company. Railway workers have feared privatization will lead to a sharp reduction of jobs. Privatization ?everywhere - degrease security for the passengers and destroy working places.

Another important point, reached in the agreement, was to bring the repression against the union and their activists to an end Kim Myoung-hwan explained to Base21.

In the case that it wouldn't come to an agreement between the Union and KoRail the KRWU threatened the gov't with a large country-wide strike. And it was clear that the workers would hold what they were promising!

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