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Bus strike averted, citizens relieved to hear news Updated: 2019-05-15 19:02:54 KST

Major bus unions across South Korea, including those in Seoul, reached a deal with management, most of them overnight, after heated, hours-long negotiations that started on Tuesday afternoon.
They agreed to a salary hike of 3.6 percent for drivers and to gradually extend the retirement age by two years from 61 to 63.
Bus unions in most regions, including Busan, Incheon, Chungcheong-do Province and Jeolla-do Province, reached a deal either overnight or a day earlier.

Many citizens say they are relieved to hear the news.

"I was worried last night due to the possible bus strike because it would take me longer to get to work. But when I found out this morning that the strike was canceled, I was relieved.

"I'm heading to an amusement park with my friends. We were going to take the subway instead, but finally we can take the bus."

The bus unions 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 in Gyeonggi-do Province sometime in September.
The government will also implement a semi-public bus management system, which means the buses will be managed partially by the government.

The bus unions had 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.

"Much of the drivers' concerns are eased as due to the wage hike, but the burden on the public, especially those in the lower income brackets, seems inevitable as bus fares will to go up in many cities.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News."
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