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KORAIL and railway union sit down for talks on ending strike Updated: 2013-12-26 21:55:53 KST

KORAIL and railway union sit down for talks on ending strike
KORAIL CEO Choi Yeon-hye and the railway union's deputy leader Park Tae-man sat down for talks on Thursday.
The meeting is the second since the railway declared an indefinite walkout on December 9th, the first one coming 13 days ago.
During the talks, the railway union reportedly demanded that five changes be made to KORAIL.
First, it requested the withdrawal of a plan to form a subsidiary that will manage new Korea Train Express routes departing from southern Seoul.
The second is to halt the granting of operating licenses to corporations of the new operator.
And if they are granted, the language should clearly state the move has nothing to do with the privitization of the railway.
Other demands include the immediate end to police arrests and the prosecution of union members, and the formation of a committee under the transport ministry that would deal with issues related to improving the management of the railway.
An hour ahead of the meeting, Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok released a statement which said the continuation of the railway strike is taking a heavy toll on the economy.
He added it will eventually drag down the nation's economic recovery, pointing to the railway operator's debt of nearly 17-billion U.S. dollars.

" The country's railways have been run by one entity without competition for the past 114 years, and this has led to it being poorly managed. We believe the competition among public entities could reduce fares and increase the quality of railway operations in the future."

Amid the talks, the rail strike continues.
The state-run rail operator on its website said it would be hiring 6-hundred-60 new employees to mitigate the impact.
Passenger train services are running at about 70 percent of normal levels, while freight train services have been reduced to around 30 percent of normal levels.
The union has called for a large-scale protest in Seoul on Saturday.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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