Richard Hill, chief of the Korean unit of Standard Chartered, on Monday expressed his “deepest regret” for service inconvenience due to an ongoing strike and pledged his commitment to resolving the dispute over the introduction of a performance-based pay system this week.
During a press conference in Seoul, Hill bowed in apology to the Korean public. The news conference was held as the bank’s labor union representatives are on their way to protest against the proposed wage system to Standard Chartered PLC CEO Peter Sands in London this week.
Richard Hill, chief of the Korean unit of Standard Chartered, speaks during a press conference in downtown Seoul on Monday. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
“I’d like to express my absolute commitment and determination to resolve the strike quickly through open and full dialogue and negotiations with the union,” the CEO of SC First Bank told reporters.
The unionized workers are in their fifth week of walkout, making it the longest strike in the industry. The management was forced to temporarily close 42 of its 399 branches. The unionized workers teamed up with the Korean Financial Industrial Union and UNI Global Union, an international union federation, for their visit to the bank’s headquarters in London after judging negotiations with Hill to be impossible.
They announced Friday their plan to go to Britain.
“I’ll do everything possible to seek an early resolution of the strike,” Hill said.
“I think they (unionized workers) will come back after their emotions cool.”
Management is trying to change the current seniority-based pay scheme to a performance-based one, sparking vehement opposition from its labor union. The union has called it a “culturally insensitive” proposal that ignored the industry norm of promoting people according to experience and seniority.
Hill said the current system is bad for performance. “We will continue to pay attractive salaries but related to performance.”
Moody’s on July 18 assigned a negative credit outlook on Standard Chartered’s Korean banking arm, citing the damage the dispute will cause as it shows no signs of ending. The Korean Financial Industry Union has said that workers will continue to fight until management agrees not to adopt the performance-based pay system.
Korea is the second biggest-consumer banking market for Standard Chartered by revenue.
By Cynthia J. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)