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Oracle Korea workers go on strike

Oracle Korea CEO Kim Hyung-rae
By Baek Byung-yeul

Oracle Korea's labor union will go on a three-day strike from Wednesday to protest what they call low wages and poor working conditions.

Oracle Korea employees announced the walkout Monday, as they couldn't reach an agreement with company management. The employees of the U.S. tech giant's local unit have demanded fair wages and working conditions.

"The labor union had met with the company more than 10 times since last December, but couldn't reach an agreement," said Kim Chul-soo, leader of Oracle Korea's labor union. "We conducted a strike vote and decided to call the walkout after 96 percent of voters agreed on the strike action."

The union held the strike vote for three days from Wednesday to Friday. Among its 600 members, 82.5 percent took part in the vote and 96 percent of them voted for the strike.

The labor union has been negotiating three points with the company. It has demanded job stability as the company has frozen wages for 10 consecutive years. It also demanded the company recognize the organization and improve employee welfare.

With the decision to go on strike, employees who joined the labor union will stop work ranging from customer service to licensing.

It is not clear how long the walkout may last, as Kim said the strike would continue until the two sides reach a solution.

"If the company doesn't show signs of change after employees go on strike from Wednesday, the union representatives will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss extending the strike," Kim said.

Due to the strike, Oracle Korea canceled a press conference scheduled to be held on Thursday. The company was to introduce its cloud business in Korea.

Oracle Korea explained the cancellation is because the company needs more time to communicate with its parent company Oracle, but industry watchers presume the event was delayed due to the strike.

Oracle Korea said it believes there will be an agreement between the two sides after negotiation and it will work to reach an agreement.

Oracle Korea employees established a labor union last September following employees of the Korean units of HP and Microsoft. It was a rare move among employees working for foreign IT firms to establish a labor union.

Baek Byung-yeul

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