Thousands of South Korean workers have walked off their jobs into the streets of the capital, Seoul, to protest the government’s labor reforms and a new wage system.
Police estimated that about 40,000 workers from railways, banks and hospitals joined the massive rally in Seoul on Thursday.
The rally was led by the country’s two major umbrella unions, Korea
Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU).
workers demanded that the government scrap the reforms under which they are paid based on performance rather than seniority.
Meanwhile, Park Joon-hyoung, a senior member of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union, said 60,000 had gone on strike across the country to voice their anger at the government’s labor reforms.
“About 60,000 workers from all over the country went on strike today and about 50,000 workers joined the rally in here. We demand a stop to adopting the illegal wage system based on performance … [that] will hurt the people.”
Also on September 23, tens of thousands of bank workers in South Korea
gathered at a stadium in Seoul as they joined a walkout to protest a plan to expand a performance-based pay system.
The angry demonstrators believe the new system is illegal and harms employees. The authorities, however, say the new measures will help enhance productivity.
South Korea is an economic powerhouse.
The Asian country’s labor productivity, however, ranked 77th among nearly 140 countries last year, according to the World Economic Forum.