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Kolon Locks Out Striking Employees

Posted August. 17, 2004 21:52,   


Currently experiencing the longest domestic strike of the year, Kolon’s Gumi, Kyungbook Province factory locked out its strikers.

On August 17, Kolon stated, “The Gumi factory labor strikes have deteriorated into illegal protests, and it seems as if problem solving cannot be worked out through negotiation. On the 57th day of strikes, on August 18 at 3 p.m., with the exception of spandex and some other businesses, all other factories will experience a lockout.”

Kolon submitted this statement relating to the lockout to Gumi City and the Kyungbook Labor Relations Committee.

Kolon has yet to announce its decision over whether or not they will ask for police protection to secure business interests.

Kolon’s reasons on why it had “no choice but to hand down the lockout” were that the unions demanded payment for lost working days during the strike and a withdrawal of penalties for their illegal actions, delayed shipment of merchandise, thus shutting down business operations for over 100 small- and medium-sized enterprises, and inflicted damages estimated to be 60 billion won.

Previously on August 6, Kolon also fired 11 union members and suspended the employment of two others.

Also, over issues of whether payments for days lost during the strike would be paid, Kolon’s president, Han Kwang-hee, reiterated that “the principle of no labor, no income, which abides by the law, will not change.”

Kolon’s resolute position in handling the recent strikes has been initiated due to an exhausted management that has firmly stated they will not reiterate the same mistakes by giving in to union demands.

Also, this event will most likely become a benchmark over how domestic corporations handle labor management relations in the future.

On this matter, Kolon’s unions stressed that “previous strikes were carefully organized to abide by the law. However since management decided to use physical means of coercion, we will not step back and we will accomplish what we ask for: stable employment.”

The ongoing strikes at Kolon Gumi factories started back on June 23 after the company decided to shut down an aging polyester factory, which would eventually lead to the cutting of some company employees.

Keuk-In Bae bae2150@donga.com