Korean Air, labor union agree to wage freeze, furlough amid pandemic

Korean Air, labor union agree to wage freeze, furlough amid pandemic

SEOUL: Korean Air Lines Co. and its labour union have agreed to freeze wages and put 70 per cent of employees on furlough in the first half of 2021 to ride out the fallout of COVID-19, officials said Wednesday.

According to Yonhap news agency, about 70 per cent of 12,600 employees at South Korea’s largest air carrier have been taking unpaid leave since April as part of cost-cutting efforts to overcome the impact of the pandemic.

In this year’s negotiations, the management and the labour union agreed to freeze wages and maintain the furlough to avoid layoffs.

“(The company) is faced with an unprecedented emergency situation due to the fallout of COVID-19,” Korean Air’s labor union said in a statement. “The labor union and management are sharing the burden by selling assets, cutting costs and furlough programs to maintain employment.”

Hit hard by the pandemic, Korean Air has suspended most of its flights on international routes since March, and travel demand has dried up.

— BERNAMA