Korean railway workers warn 2nd strike after 1st one ends

2023.09.18 11:35:02 | 2023.09.18 13:40:55

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

The Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU) ended its first general strike in four years on Monday, normalizing train operations, but it warned of a second strike if its demands are not met.

As of 9 a.m., train operations have been normalized after four days of strike that began on Thursday.

On Saturday, the KRWU held a large-scale rally in Seoul, which was joined by about 10,000 members, including those of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

Some protestors used red smoke bombs for a performance, resulting in physical clashes with the police. One KCTU official was taken into custody on charges of obstructing official duties.

Although the general strike came to an end as planned on Monday, the KRWU may launch an indefinite second strike if its demands for better working conditions are not met by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport and the management of Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL).

“The railway union is striking under the pretext of opposing railway privatization, which the government has never even considered,” said Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong.

KORAIL President Han Moon-hee estimated the damage from the strike to be about 7.5 billion won ($5.64 million). He vowed to “closely consult with both the government and the union to ensure that the second strike does not occur before Chuseok holiday.”

By Choi Ye-bin, Lee Ji-ahn, and Yoon Yeon-hae

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