|Unionized workers at Citibank Korea rally in front of the bank's main branch in Seoul, Tuesday, to protest Citigroup's decision to shut down consumer banking operations here. Courtesy of Citibank Korea union|
Unionized workers secure legal right to go on strike
By Park Jae-hyuk
Unionized workers at Citibank Korea plan to inundate top executives at Citigroup's New York headquarters, including CEO Jane Fraser, with email messages to protest the financial giant's decision to halt consumer banking operations here and in 12 other markets, the union said Friday.
|Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser|
The union also said that 99.14 percent of its members supported industrial actions in Thursday's vote, which had a 93.2-percent voter turnout. The vote was taken after the National Labor Relations Commission's mediation between the bank's union and management ended without agreement, Monday, due to their different views over wages and a collective agreement.
"As a result, we secured the legal right to take industrial actions," the union said in a statement. "It seems to have a significant impact, because Citibank Korea's union members account for 80 percent of the 3,300 regular employees, and another union comprised of employees in their 50s also showed its solidarity."
The bank's labor dispute, which was triggered by Citigroup's exit plan, has intensified further since Citibank Korea announced after its board meeting on June 3 that multiple financial firms interested in buying the consumer banking operations remained reluctant to guarantee job security. The union also criticized management for indicating the possibility of a piecemeal sell-off or a gradual liquidation.
The intensifying conflict is expected to make it difficult for Citigroup to sell its Korean consumer banking operation, although at least four financial firms submitted their proposals to acquire it.
"The planned withdrawal is related to the financial sovereignty of Korea, so the National Assembly and financial authorities should clarify their stance in the near future to protect employees and customers," the union said.
In response, Citibank Korea said that its leadership team will place top priority on customer protection and the interests of the employees who have contributed to the growth and development of the bank, as it pursues a series of exit strategies.