Rail Strike Likely to Be Prolonged

Police raided the offices of national railway operator KORAIL's labor union in Seoul on Tuesday morning, taking away documents and computer hard drives. Hundreds of police officers lined up on the streets outside to quell any possible unrest.

Authorities also tried to enforce arrest warrants that were issued on Monday for 10 union members but were blocked from gaining access to them by crowds of workers. The strike has now set a record by going on for nine days and is starting to take a toll on railway services nationwide.

KORAIL reduced the operations of its KTX express trains by 12 percent on Tuesday for the first time since the strike began. Subway services were scaled down 7 percent on Monday, directly affecting commuters.

The union said it would keep the minimum number of workers on the job needed to keep trains running.

Striking workers are demanding the government reverse its plans to set up a new rail operator, which they claim is a first step toward privatizing the national railway operator. The government and police call it an "illegal strike."

Arirang News / Dec. 18, 2013 11:06 KST