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Bus unions in Seoul, other regions reach a deal, major strike unlikely to take place Updated: 2019-05-15 05:08:17 KST

We start with a threatened bus strike in South Korea that seems to have been averted.
A mass walkout of drivers would've caused commuting chaos today, so people heading to work this morning can breathe a sigh of relief.
Bus drivers have been demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
For more, we have our Yoon Jung-min on the line for us.
Jung-min, we hear most bus unions and management reached a deal overnight.

Hi, Mark. A few hours ago, at around two-thirty a.m., bus unions in Seoul reached a deal with management after marathon negotiations that started on Tuesday afternoon.
They agreed to a salary hike of 3.6 percent for drivers and to extend the retirement age by two years from 61 to 63.
Those based in Gyeonggi-do Province couldn't completely reach a deal, but decided to delay the strike until the end of May, while continuing dialogue with management.
Just a day earlier, the transport ministry announced that the government will increase bus fares by 200 Korean won, or about seventeen cents, starting with routes based in Gyeonggi-do Province.
A exact date for the increase has yet to be confirmed, but it will happen sometime in September.
It will also implement a semi-public bus management system, which means the buses will be managed partially by the government.
Bus unions in most regions, including Busan, Incheon, Chungcheong-do Province and Jeolla-do Province, reached a deal either overnight or a day earlier.

That's a massive relief for the millions of people in South Korea who rely on buses to get them to and from work. Tell us more about what sparked this discontent among bus drivers and their demands.

Well, the bus unions have been demanding a wage hike for drivers and more support from the government, claiming they will be paid less if work hours decrease due to the mandatory 52-hour workweek system.
The government cut the maximum work hours from 68 to 52 per week last year, and companies with more than 300 employees must abide by the rule.
Bus companies were granted a one-year grace period, which expires in July.
Now, most of those concerns are likely be eased as they agreed to a wage hike, but the burden on the public seems inevitable as bus fares are going to increase in many cities.

That's all I have for you at this hour, but I'll bring more updates throughout the day. Mark.
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