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Bank strikers to face stern penalties

Posted December. 24, 2000 19:46,   


With the strike by employees of Kookmin Bank and Housing & Commercial Bank (H&CB) entering its third day Sunday, H&CB chairman & president Kim Jung-Tae warned that workers who failed to return to work Tuesday would face strong disciplinary action.

As the strike dragged on, most branches and automated teller machines operated by the two banks remained closed, leaving many customers without access to their accounts. The government said it eventually plans to forcibly disperse the strikers, making clashes between unionists and riot police all but inevitable.

Owing to the fact that the Kookmin and H&CB merger is a test case of the financial and corporate restructuring and the strike is causing great inconvenience to the public, the government will not allow the walkout to continue, said a high-ranking government official Sunday.

H&CB president Kim said last Friday, ¡°Union workers who refuse to return to work by Tuesday will face stern disciplinary measures, including wage cuts and suspensions, in accordance with bank regulations.¡±

Meanwhile, Lee Yong-Deuk, chairman of the Korea Financial Industry Union, said that unionists would resist to the last man. If the police forcibly disperse striking workers, unionists would gather again at Myongdong Cathedral in Seoul starting on Tuesday and launch a sit-in there until the beginning of Thursday's scheduled general strike, he said.

In preparation for a possible riot police attack, the labor unions reinforced their teams posted at the front and rear gates of the training institute and around Mt. Kobong.

Lee Na-Yeon larosa@donga.com