Zuellig Pharma Korea said Wednesday the compensation requested by the union “is much higher than (they) can afford,” in response to labor union accusations that it broke down good-faith negotiations last month.
The Korean branch of the Swiss pharmaceutical company has raised controversy for not following through with a recommendation made by the Seoul National Labor Commission to settle salary negotiation disagreements between the company and its labor union last month.
The commission had recommended Zuellig increase employees’ salaries by 3.1 percent, and pay an additional 1.5 million won ($1,366) to each employee as compensation.
According to the labor union, executives at Zuellig Pharma Korea did not uphold the labor commission’s proposal and instead told workers that they would increase salary by 3 percent and pay only 500,000 won to each employee.
Park Gi-il, head of the labor union of Zuellig Pharma Korea and vice president of the Korea Democratic Pharmaceutical Union, staged a single-person protest at the French embassy Thursday, demanding company executives responsible for salary negotiations step down.
|Park Gi-il, head of the labor union of Zuellig Pharma Korea, stages a one-person protest in front of the Embassy of France in Chungjeong-no, western Seoul, on Thursday, claiming that the company has violated the Labor Standards Act.|
“Even though Piganiol (general manager of Zuellig Pharma Korea) comes from a country where management and labor relations are advanced, his mindset toward a labor union is quite substandard,” Park said.
The company did not agree to salary negotiations even though net profit more than tripled in 2016, Park said. Zuellig has reportedly withheld salary raises last year saying 2015 net profit was below 2 billion won ($1.8 million).
Zuellig Pharma Korea responded the next day, saying that raising salaries make it difficult to “maintain competitiveness in (the) marketplace” while saying that the 1.5 million won requested is not affordable.
“We worked hard at discussing with our union – in more than 15 meetings – and suggested a salary increase rate of 3 percent and a one-time bonus of 500,000 won, which we believe is reasonable,” the company said in a statement. “Even though the union accepted the principle of lower salary level, the high one-time lump-sum of 1.5 million won requested by the union is much higher than we can afford.”
The company said it would work with the union to gain a compromise regarding the one-time bonus and other ways to save costs.
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