AstraZeneca Korea leaves umbrella trade union

Jeong Sae-im  Published 2020.02.07  14:35  Updated 2020.02.07 18:41


AstraZeneca Korea’s branch of the Korea Democratic Pharmaceutical Union said it would leave the umbrella group due to different opinions over AstraZeneca’s influence on the KDPU operation.

Unionized workers of AstraZeneca Korea recently voted to leave the KDPU and the company’s union will act as an individual labor union, not as a charter of the umbrella organization, industry sources said Friday.

AstraZeneca’s breakaway from the KDPU was attributed to significantly different opinions on how much power the company’s union could have in the operation of the KDPU.

“Regardless of the size of a charter, whether it is an organization of 50 people or that of 200 people, one branch had only one vote. So, the KDPU could not reflect our union members’ opinions,” a member of the trade union of AstraZeneca Korea said. “Although we paid the largest membership fee, our opinions were not reflected as much as we wanted.”

When negotiating with management, the KDPU engages only in official negotiations. As most thorny issues are determined earlier in working-level bargaining, an individual corporate trade union will not affect negotiations with management, the labor union said.

Earlier, other multinational drugmakers’ KDPU branches such as those of Pfizer Korea, Janssen Korea, and Novo Nordisk left the association. Late last year, a majority of the members of MSD Korea’s charter dropped the KDPU membership and formed a separate trade union.

The KDPU was founded in December 2012 to overcome the limitations of individual labor unions.

Except for the AstraZeneca Korea branch, the KDPU consists of 19 charters. The number could go down further as more branches are discussing leaving the umbrella group, sources said.

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