UPDATE: (9/10) Strike is cancelled! According to Barney Lavin? ‘Strike apparently called off after late-night negotiations last night — 78 new employees will be hired (the subway workers wanted about 200), a 2.8% pay rise, and additional maternity leave. All aboard!’
UPDATE: (9/9) Negotiations were unsuccessful. Strike will take place all day Wednesday, July 10.
BUSAN, South Korea — The Busan Subway Labor Union (BSLU) has scheduled a one-day strike this Wednesday, July 10. This will be the first time in four years that union members have staged a walkout. The union is demanding that the subway management from the Busan Transportation Corporation (BTC) hire more operators to ensure safe operation of the subway system.
The BTC counters that the current staff of operators is sufficient to meet safety standards, but the BSLU is asking them to hire an additional 199 people, claiming that they are presently being overworked.
In a recent vote, 84 percent of labor union members agreed that the one-day strike should take place this Wednesday if their demands were not resolved at the final negotiation meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Although it might be impossible to hire 199 additional people because of the budget deficit that BTC is suffering from, we could negotiate on improving the working conditions or better addressing the division of labor, said an official at BTC.
The biggest concern for the city is that the subway makes up 16.6 percent of commuters’ daily transportation. A one-day strike will prove highly inconvenient and is likely to clog up the roadways with additional traffic throughout the day and into the evening on Wednesday.
Busan Traffic Policy official Hong Gi-ho said he is optimistic that an agreement will be reached on Tuesday.
Even though there are lots of differences, if both parties make a little bit of sacrifice, there is a room for compromise, said Hong.
We’ll know more following Tuesday’s meeting between the two sides.
Busan subway map.