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Parliament's labor committee convenes tripartite meeting to resolve rail strike

Updated: 2013-12-27 PM 5:24:34 (KST)
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Friday's meeting was the first time ever that representatives of the government, KORAIL management and its labor union came together since the 76-hundred member union launched a mass walkout on December 9th.
The parliament's labor committee had hoped to have everyone at the table, to help them find a compromise.
However, the three sides only reiterated their previous stances.
Both the land and labor ministers said that what the railroad union is doing is an illegal strike, adding that they are opposing a government policy to bring about internal competition to railway services.
The government is pushing ahead with setting up a subsidiary company to run a new KTX high-speed train line from Suseo, southeast of Seoul, to the southern port city of Busan.
However, the railroad union says the new Suseo KTX line will be run by a corporation, something that will eventually open the door to the privatization of KORAIL.
The land minister stressed that the government cannot change its policy and will go ahead with issuing a license for the new subsidiary, which the KORAIL CEO also supports.
The railroad union said it will end the strike only if the government stops the approval of a license.
They stressed that they are opposing the government's plan to eventually privatize KORAIL, and that they are not against increased competition in the sector.
Earlier Friday, the KORAIL chief issued an ultimatum to striking workers,
saying that they will face disciplinary action if they do not return to work by midnight.
KORAIL said Thursday it would hire 6-hundred-60 new employees to mitigate the strike's impact.
Passenger train services are running at about 70 percent, while freight train services have tumbled to around 30 percent of normal levels.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.

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