South Korean rail workers, who have been on the country's longest strike for fear of privatization of railway services, have decided to end their long-drawn-out walkouts.
Lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party agreed to form a parliamentary subcommittee on developing the rail industry, which was expected to discuss the ban on the rail privatization.
Kim Myung-hwan, the labor union chief of the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), agreed to end the three-week strike if the National Assembly sets up the subcommittee.
The union head and members of the parliamentary transportation committee reached such agreement at around midnight Sunday. The committee called a plenary session to establish the subcommittee.
More than 8,700 KORAIL workers walked off the job on Dec. 9 in a protest against the government's move to open a new subsidiary for the state-run rail operator, which unionists fear will result in privatization and layoffs.
Thousands of rail workers and supporters rallied in downtown Seoul and marched down the streets Saturday after the government issued a formal license for the KORAIL's new affiliate that will operate the new high-speed line from Suseo-dong in Seoul to the southern port city of Busan.