SEOUL, Sept. 16 (Korea Bizwire) — An ongoing strike by unionized rail workers entered its third day Saturday, forcing passenger trains to operate at just less than 80 percent capacity nationwide.
The Korean Railway Workers’ Union began its first strike in four years Thursday, demanding improved working conditions and an expansion of the KTX bullet train service to Suseo Station in southern Seoul, which is exclusively used by another high-speed railway service called SRT.
The ministry said the national train operation rate was tallied at 79.2 percent as of 9 a.m., meaning that only 490 of 619 trains that would normally run were in operation.
It put the operation rates for KTX trains, passenger trains, cargo trains and capital area subways at 76.5 percent, 74.8 percent, 34.6 percent and 83.8 percent, respectively.
The ministry said it is focusing on operating trains flexibly over the weekend by taking into account crowds of passengers. It plans to deploy a total of 1,308 replacement workers Saturday, including 389 train operators.
It added that it is maintaining a communications line with the union, leaving the door open for talks before the strike ends at 9 a.m. Monday.