|▲ Pernod Ricard Korea|
According to a business source on January 23, the announcement made by Pernod Ricard Korea(PRK), the French distiller’s local subsidiary in Korea, on January 22 that the company will sell out the sales right of ‘Imperial’, a leading whiskey brand in the Korean market, gave its employees a shock. A more shocking fact is that PRK has been alleged with ‘labor union hatred’ and ‘abusive downsizing’ with the reduction of 60 percent of the entire staff.
Along with the disposal plan of the ‘Imperial’ brand whiskey, PRK announced in a kind of a town-hall meeting held on January 22 seemingly in the environment of a free and voluntary participation that the regular employees will be reduced to 94 staff, down from the current level of 221 staff. However, the PRK labor union strongly reacted that “the downsizing is being carried out in a unilateral and oppressive manner.”
According to Lee Kang-ho, first vice president of the PRK labor union, said that “person-to-person interviews started for the reduction of staff just one hour later, after the downsizing announcement plan was made by Pernod Ricard Korea CEO Jean Touboul who cited the reason of the predicted business loss in 18 months. He criticized that ”the company seems to give the staff a choice for the decision, but, the company effectively informs the staff that ‘we do not a position for you due to the financial difficulty, thus you have to decide an early retirement by February 1’.“
An accusation is also being raised that Pernod Ricard Korea is pushing for the downsizing, not because of the financial difficulties but because of its intention to dissolve the labor union. The hate speech toward the labor union and unfair labor practices by the management were brought to the parliamentary audit by the Environment and Labor Committee of the National Assembly last year.
In recent, the Seoul Regional Office of the Ministry of Employment and Labor submitted an indictment opinion to the prosecution against Pernod Ricard Korea, after the MOEL conducted a labor inspection and confirmed the unfair labor practice committed by Pernod Ricard Korea.
reported by Kim Mi-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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