New Core strike comes to an end after 400 days

Posted on : 2008-08-30 16:33 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
36 irregular employees rehired but issues including the company’s lawsuit against the union still unresolved

The labor union at New Core, a part of the Group, has agreed with New Core to the rehiring of 36 of its irregular employees, marking an end to a strike that began in protest of the company’s decision to lay off its irregular workers and outsource some of its operations. The strike went on for more than 400 days.

New Core union chairperson Park Yang-su and company president Choi Jong-yang signed a written agreement August 29 at the New Core outlet store in Pyeongchon, Anyang City, Gyeonggi Province.

Company officials said that in exchange for the union withdrawing its demand that the company stop outsourcing its cashiers, the 36 irregular employees whose contracts had run out because of the outsourcing that began in June 2007 would be rehired.

The union, then, has yielded on much of its initial demands. It went on strike saying that irregular employees had been laid off ahead of the new Irregular Employment Act, which would have required that they be given “direct” employment.

New Core board member Kim Yeon-bae [
The two sides also issued a “Joint Declaration on Labor-Management Reconciliation.” In it, the union declares it will not go on strike at any time before 2010 and that it will “do all it can to make this an exemplary solution for issues of irregular employment.”

The statement makes no mention of the 10-billion-won damages lawsuit the company had filed against the union, or of any decision about whether 18 employees who were laid off as a punitive measure will be rehired. A company official said those issues remain to be discussed with the union.

The agreement, however is not without detractors. “Recognizing outsourcing and the ‘labor-management declaration’ could set a bad precedent,” said Kim Seong-hui of the Korea Irregular Workers’ Center. “One also worries that unresolved issues like the lawsuit and the question of returning other workers to their jobs could lead to the destruction of democratic unions.”

“The union just about raised both hands in the air (in surrender), but with more than 90 percent of the union composed of regular workers, it was weak in its ability to wage a struggle. It was going to have been hard for the union to hold out any longer,” said one of its members.

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