Oracle workers pressing CEO Kim to step down
It has been a month since Oracle Korea employees began striking. Given they are one of the few unions at the Korean unit of a foreign IT company, there has been some doubt that the strike would go this long, but they are still fighting for fair compensation and improved working conditions.
Dozens of union members gathered in front of Assem Tower in southern Seoul, where the Korea branch of the U.S. tech giant is located, on a cloudy Thursday morning and asked for the immediate resignation of Kim Hyung-rae, CEO of Oracle Korea, chanting “Kim Hyung-rae out.”
They began the walkout, May 16, after they failed to reach an agreement with company management. Ninety-six percent of the members agreed on the strike action. Though it was only a three-day strike at first, the union extended it.
“It has been a month since we went on a strike, but the word we received from management is to ‘withdraw the strike action,’” Kim Chul-soo, leader of Oracle Korea’s union said. “We’ve met only one time after we started the strike, and they said they can start talking once we withdraw the walkout action. We see no willingness from them to negotiate.”
Oracle Korea employees formed a union last September to protest what they called the company’s unfair and non-transparent salary system.
“We have seen no wage increase over the past 10 years. Also, there are workers who work about 80 to 100 hours a week, but they don’t get compensated for that. Management has said you can use compensatory leave if you work overtime but it is literally impossible for them to use it in such a situation,” Kim said.
To let more people know the situation here, Kim said the union is cooperating with the UNI Global Union, an organization representing over 20 million workers worldwide.
“The UNI Global Union is scheduled to hold a congress in Liverpool from June 17 to 20. There, a representative of Korea’s unions will tell them what the union of Oracle Korea has been struggling with,” Kim said.
The union also plans to visit Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood City, Calif.
“We don’t think the company management here at Oracle Korea sent a clear message about our complaint. So we decided to visit the headquarters in the U.S. and will amplify our message to them,” Kim said.
Oracle Korea workers rally in front of ASEM Tower in southern Seoul where Oracle’s Korea branch office is located, Thursday.