Seoul Metro’s unionized workers declared that they will launch a general strike next Wednesday if the company and the city do not comply with their demands related to layoffs and safety personnel.
At a press briefing hosted by the union on Friday, union leader Myung Soon-pil said Seoul Metro has dispatched over 200 employees as temporary on-site safety workers in the wake of the fatal Itaewon crowd crush instead of hiring new full-time employees.
Myung slammed the company’s temporary measure, noting that the company and the city have yet to hire some 230 new workers needed to properly resume extended nighttime operations in May.
Seoul Metro, on its part, cited financial losses as the reason for the personnel shortage, presenting a massive restructuring plan to the union last June that proposed reducing the workforce by over 15-hundred personnel.
The union declared a walkout last September, but the two sides struck an eleventh-hour deal, with the company agreeing to scrap the restructuring and forgo extended operating hours.
Following the government's lifting of social distancing earlier this year, however, the city government announced plans to extend nighttime operation by an hour through 1:00 a.m.