S. Korea bank pushes new pay plan despite strike

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The head of Standard Chartered Bank's South Korean unit voiced determination Monday to adopt a performance-based pay system despite a month-long strike in protest at the move.

Richard Hill, CEO of SC First Bank, appealed to union leaders to resume negotiations on the new pay system, which he said was essential to long-term growth.

"What I can't do is pay ongoing salaries and keep increasing them without growth... it (the new pay system) has to be implemented," he told reporters.

More than 2,500 unionised workers of the bank, which has about 6,500 staff in total, have been on strike since June 27 to protest at attempts to adopt the pay proposal. The lender shut 43 of its 392 branches this month.

SC First Bank was established in 2005 after the Asia-focused British-based banking group bought Korea First Bank. It is the first lender in South Korea officially to push a performance-based pay system.

South Korean firms trying to dump seniority-based compensation have often faced intense opposition from workers who worry that a change would make job cuts easier.

The CEO said the strike has had no significant impact on the bank's financial health and operations.

"There will be no changes in our investment plans (in South Korea). Our intention is to try to resolve this strike as soon as we can," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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