Global support for Korean strikers as they picket Standard Chartered UK headquarters

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date: 26 July 2011

embargo: 00.01hrs Wednesday 27 July 2011

When: 8.30am, Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Where: Standard Chartered Bank Head Office, 1 Aldermanbury Square, London, EC2

UNI, the global union for finance workers, Unite and the TUC are today (Wednesday) holding a demonstration in London to show support for more than 3,000 Korean workers who are on a month-long strike at Standard Chartered First Bank over plans to impose a new pay system.

Strike leaders have travelled to the UK from South Korea to ask parent company Standard Chartered Plc to intervene in the dispute and persuade local managers to respect existing employment practices in the Korean financial industry.

The strike - the biggest ever in the Korean finance sector - began last month after managers at the bank imposed a new performance-based pay system that the unions say is totally out of step with standard practice in the rest of the country. No other bank in Korea uses a performance-based pay system.

Despite healthy profits for the bank and big bonuses for managers, employees' pay has been frozen for the last four years, says the union. Management says it will not agree to a wage increase unless the new pay system is put in place and the union agrees to cut a provision for early retirement that gives employees the right to retire early in the case of restructuring.

'This is the dark side of globalisation,' said UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings. 'SCFirst Bank has brought in foreign managers to introduce a totally different way of working in Korea that is out of step with the culture and which will only drive down pay and conditions for workers while increasing pressure on them to sell more financial products. We have a global campaign against these types of practices.'

Standard Chartered entered Korea in 2005 when it bought Korea First Bank. Since then, the UK parent company has tried to fundamentally change the working culture of the bank.

Unite national officer for the finance sector, David Fleming, said: 'Unfortunately the global trend in the banking business - which we've seen clearly here in the UK - is to put pressure on bank workers to sell products, ramping up their stress while driving down their pay and working conditions.

'We are joining in this fight with our Korean sisters and brothers to fight this trend at SCFirst Bank, here in the UK and all over the world.'

'We are standing side by side with the 3,000 workers and the Standard Chartered First Bank Trade Union because this is not just a local issue,' said TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. 'This is about stopping multinationals from treating workers however they want, and as a global union movement, we will continue to try to do that wherever they operate.'

UNI has launched a global campaign against sales pressure called Bank on Rights to support workers and their unions standing up for their right to give good advice to customers and not just push high-profit products.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- At 8.30am today (Wednesday) a group of UK trade unionists will join with their South Korean colleagues to protest outside the Standard Chartered Bank Head Office, 1 Aldermanbury Square, London EC2.

Contacts:

Media enquiries:

Unite, Ashraf Choudhury T: 0203 371 2061 M: 07980 224761

E: ashraf.choudhury@unitetheunion.org

UNI, Rachel Cohen T: +41 22 365 21 29 M: +41 79 888 0753

E: rachel.cohen@uniglobalunion.org

Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

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