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Union at Seoul Millennium Hilton Hotel Braces for Conflict over Casual Work

Posted to the IUF website 06-Oct-2006

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The Millennium Seoul Hilton Union, a member of the IUF-affiliated Korean Federation of Service Workers' Unions (KFSU), is preparing for further industrial action following a one-day strike on September 23 in defense of a crucial CBA clause which regularizes casual workers. Negotiations for a renewal of the CBA at the 22-story, 684-room luxury establishment have deadlocked over management's insistence on scrapping an agreement which regularizes the employment of contracted workers after two years' employment.

Striking union members rally on September 23 - the union is determined to defend past bargaining gains regularizing contract workers. The banners call on management to accept the union's negotiating demands and agree to a 2006 CBA.

The agreement was negotiated in 1999, in response to management's growing recourse to the employment of contract workers at the expense of the regular workforce, but also in the face of the hotel's impending sale to Millennium & Copthorne Hotels PLC, the London-listed hospitality division of the Singapore-based property and hotel conglomerate City Developments Limited (CDL).

With strong support from the membership, the union was able at that time to win strong contract language and maintain it under the transfer of ownership. In addition to regularizing contract workers with 2 years employment at the hotel, the agreement stipulates that contract workers shall not be used to reduce the permanent, directly employed workforce, and gives preference to long-term contract workers in new hiring.

Millennium Hilton management, the union believes, is under pressure from the parent company to scrap the clause. Negotiations for a renewal of the collective agreement have therefore deadlocked, with the union seeking to defend the clause as well as opposing management demands for extreme "flexibility" of working time.

Following the one-day strike on September 23, negotiations were scheduled for October 9, but the union is preparing for further action in support of its struggle should management refuse to renounce its war on past bargaining gains embodied in the current CBA.