Since July 2021, banks nationwide have been operating from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., an hour shorter than their previous operating hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. before the pandemic. [Photo by Yonhap]
Union workers are opposed to plans by Korean banks to normalize operation hours to pre-pandemic standards to ease customer inconvenience, saying that working hours should be diversified with their working hours shortened.
Since July 2021, banks nationwide have been operating from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., an hour shorter than their previous operating hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. before the pandemic.
Most convenience facilities or accommodations returned to their original business hours as social distancing rules were lifted in April last year, but banks have stuck to shortened business hours.
According to sources on Sunday, the Korean Financial Industry Union (KFIU) and the Financial Industry Employer Association launched a taskforce to discuss normalizing local bank operation hours in October last year. They reached no agreement in previous meetings on Jan. 12 and 18. Another meeting is scheduled on Monday.
Banks demand that business hours be immediately normalized when the obligation to wear indoor masks is lifted on Monday, as many consumers complain of inconvenience due to reduced business hours. In response, the financial union argues that customer inconvenience should be resolved through diversification of business hours. In addition, union employees propose that even if the closing time of banks is returned to 4:00 p.m., the opening time should be maintained at 9:30 a.m., and the introduction of a half-day break system should be discussed together.
Legal counsels for banks say that a labor-management agreement is not a prerequisite for restoring business hours after the country’s mandatory indoor mask rule is lifted. However, the union insists that such an agreement is essential.
By Lim Young-shin, Seo Jeong-won and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]