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Hospital Worker Strike Looms

Posted July. 19, 2005 03:22,   


The effect of “flight disruptions” stemming from the Asiana Airlines pilots union strike is spilling into international flights, and could hurt the company’s international credit standing.

In addition, there are concerns over potential “medical treatment disruption,” with the National Health and Medical Industry Union gearing itself up for an all-out strike on July 20, and unions from the individual hospitals of Korea University, Hanyang University, and Kyunghee University, which are expected to go on strike on the same day, regardless of the possibility of a strike in the industry.

Asiana Airlines said on July 18 that its July 19 flight OZ601 from Incheon to Sydney, on which 140 passengers were booked, will be canceled. Also, a total of 81 out of 163 domestic flights, except for the ones for Jeju Island, and three freight flights will be canceled.

In particular, overseas travelers on summer vacation faced an emergency situation as large numbers of international flights may be cancelled, starting July 20. A call center for Asiana Airlines (1588-8000) provides international flight operation schedules until July 19, but beginning July 20, customers who booked a flight won’t be able to receive a definite operation schedule answer.

A Series of Flight Cancellations-

On July 18, the second day into a strike, 81 of Asiana Airlines’ 168 domestic flights were canceled except the ones from Seoul to Jeju Island. In addition, four out of seven freight flights have been cancelled, which hampered the nation’s exports.

Asiana Airlines said, “Only 87 out of 168 domestic flights, including Gimpo-Ulsan, Gimpo-Busan, and Gimpo-Gwangju flights, operated.”

Asiana Airlines decided on a policy that for the time being, it will deploy 460 pilots that didn’t participate in the strike on international flights, and prioritize Jeju-bound flights in domestic flights. Consequently, it’s expected that inland flights among domestic flights won’t be in operation, for the present.

Strikes Spreading-

Korean Air’s pilots union also staged an official strike, rejecting operating scheduled flights and training. In addition, it decided to explain its struggle principles to union members and gave them a date of July 20 as a target date for their fulfillment.

The National Health and Medical Industry Union will go on an all-out strike on the morning of July 19 in case of a rupture in final negotiations with hospitals. It will also file lawsuits against the National Labor Relations Commission’s arbitration and bring its case to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

In a separate case, a total of 17 hospitals from Korea University, Hanyang University, Kyunghee University, Ewha Womans University, and Donga University in Busan, which applied for mediation to every level of a labor relations commission for branches, agreed to strike from July 20, after mediation period ends on July 19.

In addition, patients will be inconvenienced by a series of planned strikes by 42 hospitals, including applications for mediation from 23 medical centers across the country that finish on July 22.

Jun-Ho Cha Keuk-In Bae run-juno@donga.com bae2150@donga.com