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  • SC First Bank to cut senior jobs via early retirement
DATE: 2011-10-07 VIEW: 72
CATEGORY: Labor Disputes ORIGIN: YonhapNews
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(Yonhap) -- SC First Bank, the South Korean unit of Standard Chartered Plc, said Friday that it will carry out a voluntary early retirement program for executive-level employees in a bid to boost its management efficiency.

   Joo Hee-sun, a bank spokeswoman, said that SC First Bank and its parent holding group will receive applications from about 90 senior officials this month to conduct the early retirement scheme in a bid to sustain the bank's growth in the fast-changing banking industry.

   "The scheme will be carried out 100 percent voluntarily and has nothing to do with a labor strike," Joo said, adding that severance pay will be calculated based on the length of employment.

   It would mark the first early retirement for the bank's executive-level employees since 2005 when British banking group Standard Chartered made a foray into the Korean market.

   But the bank's labor union claimed that the move is tantamount to a forced job cut in an apparent bid to hold senior officials accountable for a recent labor strike.

   "There is a high chance that the program will be expanded to apply to the bank's staff level," said Kim Jae-yul, head of the bank's labor union.

   SC First Bank has been plagued by a prolonged labor strike that has been staged in protest against the bank's move to introduce the performance-based pay system.

   SC First Bank is the first lender operating in South Korea to seek an overhaul of the seniority-based salary scheme.

   After a two-month labor stoppage, about 2,500 unionized workers returned to work on Aug. 29 but have been staging a slowdown and sporadic strikes. Since mid-September, SC First Bank has reopened 22 out of 42 branches, which had been temporarily shuttered due to the labor strike.

   But there is no sign that tension between the management and the labor union is easing as unionized members vow to continue their protest.

   "We are taking a pause in staging a rally, but after reviewing collective bargaining and the early retirement program, we could resume the work stoppage," said Kim at the union.

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