The Korea Postal Workers Union (KPWU) has announced plans to strike on July 9 if management continues to renege on promises to fix hazardous conditions facing postal employees, according to local media reports.
Korea Post has not hired the 1,000 new employees mandated by the collective bargaining agreement and has failed to take other necessary safety measures, UNI Global Union reported. This delay has had dangerous consequences, including the death of postman Kang Gil-Sik on June 20 from cerebral hemorrhaging after enduring long hours of overwork. He is the ninth postman to die from work-related causes in 2019.
Brother Lee Dong-Ho, KPWU president, said at the funeral service for Kang, “We will not accept death from overwork any longer, and we ask Korea Post be responsible. We will fight until our demands are met.”
The KPWU has demanded that Korea Post to hire 1,000 postal workers as agreed in the union contract and implement a genuine five-day working week so that workers can rest over the weekend. According to UNI Global Union, if Korea Post does not accept these demands, KPWU will hold a struggle rally on July 6 and the workers will strike from July 9 onward.
“This situation is as infuriating as it is tragic,” said Cornelia Broos, head of UNI Post&Logistics. “Korea Post must take action now to remedy life-threatening problems, and we fully stand with the KPWU as it fights for the safety of postal employees.”
The KPWU lodged a complaint with Korea’s Labor Commission on June 25, which initiated a mediation process between the union and Korea Post’s management. Unfortunately, no agreement was reached and a last attempt is scheduled for July 1. The KPWU and the Korea Post management had earlier signed an agreement in January 2018 to implement measures such as a de facto five-day working week and to hire more workers to address the overwhelming workload faced by postmen. The two parties had also formed a joint committee in June 2018 to develop measures to prevent deaths and industrial accidents in the workplace.