260,000 S. Korean workers strike against flexible labor market, pension reform

April 24, 2015
Members of the Korean Federation of Trade Unions, an umbrella union, attend a rally at a plaza in front of Seoul City Hall on April 24, 2015. (Yonhap)

Members of the Korean Federation of Trade Unions, an umbrella union, attend a rally at a plaza in front of Seoul City Hall on April 24, 2015. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Tens of thousands of unionized workers walked out of their work places across the country Friday against government plans to reform the pension system for public servants and introduce a more flexible labor market.

About 260,000 unionized workers joined the one-day walkout launched in 2,829 work places across the country, including 60,000 government employees and 10,000 teachers, according to the Korean Federation of Trade Unions (KFTU), an umbrella union.

The Labor Ministry, however, put the number at 34,000.

No major violence was reported during the strike as of early afternoon, although some clashes are expected from street rallies nationwide slated for later in the day.

The Park Geun-hye government’s drive for a more flexible labor market and revision of the pension system for government employees have been resisted by unionized workers.

The government has pledged to deal sternly with the illegal strike.

Police have threatened to round up key KFTU officials on charges of business obstruction and expel civil servants who join the strike.

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