Takeda Pharmaceutical Korea’s trade union, in dispute with management during the merger with Shire Korea, said it would delay its strike decision until it participates in the headquarters’ labor union meeting in October.
Kim Young-buk, chairman of Korea Democratic Pharmaceutical Union at Takeda Pharmaceutical Korea, held a news conference on Wednesday to announce the union’s plans.
Unionized workers at Takeda Korea have been claiming that Takeda employees faced unfair changes in their jobs and roles during the merger of the two companies. They argued that Takeda workers were increasingly worried about their job security due to the rumor that the company might sell the division of diabetes/circulatory system.
Takeda Korea CEO Moon Hee-seok publicly clarified earlier this month that the rumor was not true. He also refuted the labor union’s claim, saying the dispute between the management and the labor was a natural conflict that can occur during a merger of two different organizations.
Despite Moon’s clarification, the labor union continued to take issues with the unfair treatment for Takeda workers. According to Kim, there were 210 Takeda Korea employees and more than 70 Shire Korea employees before the merger.
“As the merger is in progress now, over 30 Takeda workers have left the company whereas there is no Shire employee that has quit,” Kim said. “CEO Moon said publicly those who left sought personal career development such as finding a promotion opportunity at another firm. However, do only Takeda workers pursue career development?” he asked.
Although the company said the rumor about the sale of diabetes/circulatory division was not true, the company has no pipeline in the division until 2025, Kim noted. Besides, the company clearly stated that the division was not part of the four key divisions, he added.
“We will participate in the headquarters’ labor union meeting in October. In a question and answer session with the Japanese labor union head, we will ask the head office’s reply on this issue,” Kim said.
Takeda Korea’s labor union applied for labor dispute mediation to the National Labor Relations Commission in August. However, the mediation is in a stalemate after the union, and the company failed to agree twice.
The pursuit of the dispute mediation resulted from the failed collective bargaining for a wage hike, but the labor union said the management’s “changed situation” affected the negotiations.
“Unionized workers haven’t voted on a strike yet. However, we have reported our strike plan to the authorities and hung a placard in front of the company,” Kim said. “As we will have the meeting of the headquarter union in Japa on Oct. 10, we will vote on a strike there.”
Kim went on to say, “When we inform the head of the labor union in Japan of Takeda Korea’s unfair treatment for Takeda employees and the rumor about the sale of the division, the head will meet with Takeda CEO to discuss it.”