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KEPCO union orders strike for 8 a.m. Monday

Posted December. 01, 2000 19:34,   


In preparation for the expected rupture of its negotiations with the government, the labor union of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) Friday ordered its members to begin a general strike at 8 a.m. Monday.

The KEPCO union delivered the order for the strike through the company¡¯s computer network and official documents, noting that the government-proposed bill to privatize the state-run utility and sell its power plants on a piecemeal basis was scheduled to be passed by the Commerce, Industry and Energy Committee at the National Assembly on Monday.

Lee Kyung-Ho, chief of the union¡¯s publicity bureau, said, however, that if the government accepts the union¡¯s proposals, such as the withdrawal of the plan to sell the power plants, by the deadline for arbitration Sunday, the union may withdraw the strike order.

Yet, the government has made clear its intention to privatize KEPCO and proceed with the sell-off, making the strike seem unavoidable.

The leadership of the union, however, revealed that 300 nuclear power plant operators and repair service staff would postpone joining the walkout for 24 hours until Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, KEPCO, in preparation for the unionized workers¡¯ strike, decided to issue a ¡°red alert¡¯¡¯ at 8 a.m. Sunday. A red alert is an emergency measure that makes it compulsory for all employees to be on duty around the clock.

KEPCO also instructed its main headquarters, branches and district offices to operate emergency situation rooms and to reconstruct emergency networks among all of their employees.

The state-run company will file criminal complaints against anyone who joins the strike in defiance of the emergency duty order and will also file suits for damages, an official said.

KEPCO has secured 9,675 substitute workers in order to maintain the smooth operation of power plants in the event the unionists¡¯ walk off the job, he added.

Lee Myung-Jai mjlee@donga.com