Taxi company back to running on regular schedule
Stars and Stripes May 10, 2008
SEOUL — The largest taxi company in Areas I and II will begin running at regular hours on Monday, but will shut down for two days a week as part of an ongoing strike.
Drivers with World Cup Arirang Taxi Co. went on strike in late April over a pay dispute with company management. Their actions have included failing to answer dispatch calls, reducing hours and, for several days, refusing to drive.
Kwon Oh-seung, chair of World Cup’s labor union, said Thursday he was uncertain when the two-day work stoppage would take place, and he didn’t want to announce the dates until they were firm.
“We don’t want to cause more inconvenience and confusion to our customers,” he said. “We fully know that they are the real victims in this situation.”
World Cup taxis will hit the streets Monday for their normal 6 a.m.-to-midnight business hours instead of a shortened 9 a.m.-to-7 p.m. strike schedule.
Yonhap Transportation, the only other company authorized to operate on the military installations, has increased its service during the strike.
World Cup drivers began accepting dispatch calls on Thursday morning after taking calls intermittently during the past several weeks.
“It was a surprise to me this morning,” said Shawn Dorcy, general manager for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service at U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan. “I don’t know how long that’s going to last because they haven’t been doing that for the better part of five or six days.”
When asked if AAFES was considering replacing World Cup with another taxi company, Dorcy said it is “exploring all avenues.”
World Cup drivers want a $30 per month raise, and claim they haven’t had a pay increase since 2000.
After a 2006 strike, the drivers received a $105 bonus and $2 per month for each year they worked for the company.
Drivers now earn 400,000 won (about $400) per month in base salary. The rest of their earnings come from a percentage of meter receipts, meaning that most make a total of about $1,000 per month.
Repeated messages left with World Cup’s management have gone unanswered.