Labor, management of Paris Baguette reach agreement over employment dispute

SEOUL-- Labor and management at Paris Baguette, South Korea's largest bakery franchise, on Thursday reached an agreement to set up an affiliate to hire bakers, ending a monthslong dispute over employment.

In September, the government said SPC Group, the franchise's operator, violated the country's labor laws in connection with the hiring conditions of more than 5,300 bakers and cafe workers at its franchise stores.

The bakery chain has been accused of giving direct work orders, such as recipe training, to outsourced workers who have job contracts with hiring-related subcontractors, a practice the ministry deems illegal.

Paris Baguette said that under the agreement with the labor union, it will establish a subsidiary that will be at least 51-percent owned by the franchise's headquarters.

The new entity will hire 5,300 bakers, give a 16.4 percent wage increase and provide the same welfare benefits as their colleagues at the headquarters.

The bakery chain originally pushed to hire the workers through a joint venture that it recently established with its franchisees and subcontractors.

The labor union has been opposed to such a move saying they refuse to accept a plan that includes the subcontractors, who were at the center of the issue, as part of the joint venture. Following the latest deal, the subcontractors will be excluded from holding shares or joining the board of the affiliate.

The country's two umbrella labor groups welcomed the agreement.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said in a statement that the deal will help management take responsibility for the employment of the bakers, while the Federation of Korean Trade Unions said it will make more efforts to improve the working conditions of laborers at franchise chains.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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