Bus drivers’ unions threatened Monday to stage an all-out strike on May 15 should they fail to reach an agreement with their employers on working conditions ahead of the enforcement of the 52-hour working week in July.
Of 479 bus companies around the country, trade unions from 234 companies -- involving some 20,138 buses and 41,280 workers -- are expected to join the strike. In Seoul alone, 7,552 buses and 17,735 employees could band together in a walkout.
The bus drivers are demanding the companies roll out measures to make up for the loss in their income when the law that limits maximum working hours to 52 hours per week comes into full effect in July.
They are also calling for the hiring of more bus drivers before July, claiming the companies would rather reduce bus operations than hire more drivers. At least 15,000 more personnel need to be hired, but only 1,250 employees have been added since July 2018, according to the unions.
On Monday, the bus drivers’ unions under the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, South Korea’s biggest umbrella trade union, asked for mediation by regional labor offices. If they fail to reach a settlement, the unions plan to vote on the strike on May 8 and stage the walkout May 15.