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Korean Air strike ends; flights resume

Posted October. 23, 2000 12:43,   


The strike by the commercial pilots of Korean Airlines -- the nation¡¯s first disruption of airline service due to a walkout -- has ended after a last-minute negotiation between KAL and the pilots' union, 17-hours after the call for a strike.

The two sides agreed on major issues at 11 p.m. Sunday. Accordingly, KAL flights will resume as usual starting Monday morning.

At the end of a marathon talk, which began early in the morning Oct. 22 at the KAL office building in the Seosomun area of Seoul and lasted until 11 p.m. that night, the representatives of the KAL and chairman Lee Sun-Jae of the pilots' union pushed through an agreement on the major contentious issues such as a raise in per-hour wages of the pilots in flight. Having reached the agreement, the pilots' union revealed that the pilots scheduled for 6:40 a.m. flights from Seoul to Pusan on Monday would report as scheduled for work.

The pilots' union successfully obtained concessions by KAL to increase the per-hour flight rate for the pilots starting April 2001 to 12,000 won, and to receive a minimum 75-hour flight guaranteed wage regardless of the actual hours in flight, an increase from the current 65 hours.

During the talks, a call by labor unions seeking stipulated recognition of plural labor union branches within the pilots' union threatened to abort the talks. However, through arbitration by the Ministry of Labor, the two sides have agreed to carry out the agreement for the next two years and will take full responsibility, including criminal, for any breach.

During the talks, the scheduled KAL flights Oct. 22 faced cancellation across the board. Of the 384 flights, including 21 cargo, scheduled for the day, only 12 from Seoul to Cheju Island and seven short international flights to China, Japan and Hong Kong took off as scheduled through the placement of non-Korean or non-union pilots in the cockpits. The cancellation caused great discomfort and inconvenience to the scheduled passengers.

KAL has revealed that had Oct. 24 flights been canceled, it would result in a loss of 20 billion won in income.

Song Jin-Hup jinhup@donga.com