SPC Group Chairman Indicted for Coercing Union Members to Quit

SPC Group Chairman indicted for allegedly coercing 570 union members to quit militant labor group, highlighting tensions between businesses and unions in South Korea's chaebol-dominated economy.

author-image
Rizwan Shah
Updated On
New Update
SPC Group Chairman Indicted for Coercing Union Members to Quit

SPC Group Chairman Indicted for Coercing Union Members to Quit

Prosecutors in Seoul have indicted SPC Group Chairman Hur Young-in and 17 others for allegedly coercing 570 union members at an SPC subsidiary to quit their membership with the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office accused Hur and the others of engaging in unfair labor practices by urging the union members to leave the umbrella labor organization.

The indictment comes after the Seoul Central District Court issued a formal arrest warrant for the 74-year-old Hur on April 5, citing concerns about him attempting to destroy evidence. Hur, who heads the food and confectionery conglomerate that owns the Paris Baguette bakery chain, faces charges of violating labor union laws.

Why this matters: The case highlights ongoing tensions between businesses and labor unions in South Korea. It also raises questions about the power and influence wielded by large conglomerates, known as chaebol, in the country's economy and society.

Prosecutors allege that Hur and his associates pressured the union members, who worked at a bread manufacturing subsidiary, to leave the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, known for its aggressive tactics and protests. The alleged coercion took place from 2017 to 2019.

The SPC Group has denied the allegations, stating that the union members voluntarily chose to leave the organization. However, prosecutors believe that the company used its authority to intimidate and threaten workers into quitting the union.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has condemned the alleged actions of SPC Group, calling it a "clear infringement on the basic labor rights of workers." The organization has demanded a thorough investigation and punishment for those involved.

The indictment of Hur and his associates is the latest development in an ongoing probe into unfair labor practices at SPC Group. Prosecutors are expected to continue their investigation to determine the full extent of the alleged coercion and any other potential violations of labor laws. If convicted, Hur and the others could face significant fines and potential imprisonment.

Key Takeaways

  • SPC Group chairman Hur Young-in and 17 others indicted for coercing 570 union members to quit.
  • Prosecutors allege Hur and associates pressured workers to leave the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
  • SPC Group denies allegations, claims union members voluntarily left, but prosecutors believe company used intimidation.
  • Indictment is latest in probe into unfair labor practices at SPC Group, could lead to fines and imprisonment.
  • Case highlights tensions between businesses and labor unions, raises questions about power of South Korean conglomerates.