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Rail strike may affect passenger services for Lunar New Year holiday

Updated: 2013-12-30 AM 6:29:03 (KST)
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The state-run railway operator, KORAIL, says tickets for the Lunar New Year holiday will go on sale, as originally planned, on January 7thdespite the ongoing strike by the railway union.
Regular passenger train services such as the Saemaeul and Mugunghwa are expected to drop to around 62-percent of normal levels from Monday.
Freight train services will be running at around 56-percent of regular levels.
The government and KORAIL have vowed to come up with ways to mitigate the impact of the strike on railway operations.
KORAIL says it has hired 1-hundred-47 locomotive engineers out of the 6-hundred-60 new employees it said it would hire to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
The vice minister for transport Yeo Hyung-ku says the government is considering a law that would make it easier to remove striking rail workers from their posts in the future.
This comes as the police issued arrest warrants for six more union members, bringing the total number wanted by the police to 31.
Two union members are currently in detention and one union member is being questioned after being taken into police custody.
As of Monday morning, around 2,470 people or around 28 percent of union members have returned to their posts, according to KORAIL.
This comes after KORAIL issued an ultimatum to the railway union last Friday demanding striking workers return to work.
But the return rate for locomotive engineers was nearly 5-percent, one of the lowest rate out of all the positions.
At the current time, it looks almost certain that some of the thousands of people who usually take the train east to watch the first sunrise of the new year will be unable to find a seat.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.

ANCHOR: Meeting in Seoul now, the railway labor union says it will call of the strike if coming to an agreement with the country's political parties to open up a self committee to prevent privatization of KORAIL.


Reporter : jiyeonkim@arirang.co.kr

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