Allianz refuses dialogue with its striking Korean workers
Since 23 January, 1,000 of the 1,700 employees are on strike and many of them have not been home for weeks.
Allianz Life Korea staff protests against the company’s breach of the collective agreement. In 2005/2006, the two sides had laid down that they would negotiate a mutually agreed performance related pay system. Negotiations came to a standstill. Management then refused the union’s proposal to involve an outside consultancy for cost and time reasons. Early this year, it then introduced a system unilaterally without taking account of the views of the employees, one that is unique in the industry.
The Korean colleagues met with ver.di representatives. The latter included members of the supervisory board of Allianz SE who also raised the issue with the company later. Jörg Reinbrecht, UNI-Europa Finance Vice-President from ver.di and member of the supervisory board, said: “I expect that the management board of Allianz SE talks to the Korean workers’ representatives to defuse the situation.”
The delegation was prohibited from distributing leaflets to Allianz workers. Rather than stirring up the conflict, the colleagues refrained from protest actions. They said: “we are seeking constructive dialogue and a relationship built on the mutual loyalty of staff and management.”
This is actually also Allianz’s policy. Its agreement with its European workforce on employees’ involvement explicitly states that a precondition for the economic success of Allianz Group is an intensive dialogue between management and employee representatives and their unions. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, it also regards collective bargaining as a constructive forum for addressing the working conditions and terms of employment.
Oliver Roethig, Head UNI Finance Department, said that “evidently dialogue in Korea has broken down. Allianz Head Office shies away from its responsibility and flouts its own company values.”
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung quoted Allianz Group saying that they do “not want that the situation escalates and will look at everything without haste”. Süddeutsche concluded that “a well thought-out de-escalation strategy is surely asked for in this dispute between head office and its Asian outstation.”
“Looking at Allianz’s behaviour in Munich, the question is whether it is a global company or just a worldwide conglomeration of companies,” said Roethig. “For a company that wants to be a global player, a head-in-the-sand policy is not good and pro-active corporate governance. It is not acceptable that head office washes its hands of the turmoil in Korea. The buck stops with Mr Diekmann and the board members of Allianz SE. For a wait-and-see approach it is too late.”
UNI Finance joins in the demands of Korean colleagues on strike:
- Allianz must respect the collective agreement.
- Allianz must stop the performance related pay system.
- Allianz must be prepared to negotiate about such a system with the union in good faith until an agreement is reached.
- Allianz top management must talk to Allianz Life Korea Union.
Roethig said: “UNI Finance is ready to work together with Allianz Group and our affiliates in resolving the conflict. UNI Finance will now accelerate its solidarity campaign with Allianz Life Union Korea and the 1,000 colleagues on strike – in Korea, Germany and worldwide.”