Lawmaker: Rail union agrees to end strike in exchange for parliamentary subcommittee
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- The ruling and opposition parties have agreed to form a parliamentary subcommittee on banning rail privatization, an opposition lawmaker said Monday, raising hopes for an end to the three-week walkout by thousands of rail workers.
The union leader of the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), Kim Myung-hwan, has agreed to end the strike in exchange for the committee's establishment, Rep. Lee Yoon-seok of the main opposition Democratic Party said. Kim signed an agreement around midnight Sunday to end the walkout.
Leaders of the rival parties on the parliamentary transportation committee worked out the deal on Sunday, he said. There was no immediate confirmation of the reported agreement from the KORAIL union.
More than 8,700 KORAIL workers walked off the job on Dec. 9 in protest of a government plan to establish a KORAIL subsidiary to run part of the high-speed train services. The union suspects the move is a precursor to privatizing the rail monopoly.
The government has repeatedly assured workers that it has no intention of privatizing the planned subsidiary, and promised to revoke the subsidiary's rail service license if its stakes are sold to private sectors.
But labor leaders, opposition parties and other critics say they can't buy the assurances.