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Arbitration Puts End to Pilots Strike

Posted December. 12, 2005 08:20,   


The strike by Korean Air pilots ended thanks to emergency government arbitration at 10:00 a.m. on December 11, the fourth day of its strike.

Unionized pilots held a disbanding ceremony and went back to work on the morning of that day as all strike actives are illegal after emergency arbitration is invoked. However, normal flight services are expected to begin around December 13 because of pilot reorganization needs.

Labor Minister Kim Dae-hwan held an emergency press conference at the Gwacheon Government Complex yesterday morning and said that the government exercised its right to declare emergency arbitration because the strike by Korean Air pilots dealt a blow to the national economy five or six times greater than the strike by Asiana Air pilots did, and that this issue is not likely to be resolved by negotiations between the two parties.

Emergency arbitration is exercised by Labor Minister when it is highly likely that strike activities will inflict significant damage to the national economy and threaten people’s daily lives. When it is invoked, all strike activities are banned for 30 days.

If the National Labor Relations Commission involves itself in the settlement talks for 15 days and decides that a settlement is not likely to be reached, it can intervene to end the strike.

There have been two cases of emergency arbitration until last year, as it restricts the basic rights of laborers, and the government carries a heavy burden when it exercises the right. However, this year has seen two cases of emergency arbitration due to continuous pilots’ strikes

The labor world immediately opposed the move, and it is concerned that the possibility of passing legislation on irregular jobs might be clouded.

Meanwhile, Korea Air said that all 24 of its cargo flights will resume regular service beginning December 12, and that its international and domestic flights will resume regular service beginning December 13.

On December 12, 97 of Korean Air’s 139 international flights starts to operate. Among domestic flights, 45 of 102 inland route flights, and 20 of 96 flights to Jeju will resume their service, respectively.

On December 11, 262 of 395 passenger and cargo flights, 66 percent, were canceled.

Keuk-In Bae Hee-Jae Park bae2150@donga.com min07@donga.com