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18th Jun 2001, 18:51

Four Korean Air Pilots Arrested; Asiana Ends Strike

By: The Associated Press

18-Jun-2001 8:31 AM U.S. EDT


SEOUL, South Korea - Four Korean Air pilots were arrested and the head of a powerful umbrella labor group was sought Monday on suspicion of organizing last week's illegal airline strikes.

The announcement of the arrests came shortly before the non-pilot union at Asiana Airlines, South Korea's second-largest carrier, ended a weeklong strike after accepting a 4.5% pay hike plus a 6% increase in transportation and other allowances.

The Asiana union had sought a 21% pay hike plus a 68% increase in allowances.

Asiana's pilots did not take part in the strike but the airline had to cut flights significantly because 2,300 unionized maintenance staffers, flight attendants and ticketing clerks stayed away.

The all-Korean pilots' union of Korean Air, the nation's largest carrier, ended a two-day strike Wednesday. Police arrested four union leaders Sunday, accusing them of organizing an illegal strike.

Authorities ruled Asiana's strike legal, saying that it had taken all steps required. But they said the Korean Air strike did not go through mandatory mediation by what is supposed to be a neutral arbitration body.

Many labor leaders disregard the arbitration body as pro-government and pro-management.

Also wanted by police was Dan Byong-ho, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, a major umbrella labor group that called last week's nationwide strike in the aviation, chemical, metal and hospital industries.

Dan went into hiding last week after prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for him.

When the strike began last week, more than 50,000 workers at 125 locations took part. By Monday, the number had dropped to 6,700 at 25 work sites, including four large hospitals, according to government officials.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press

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