SEOUL, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Unionized civil servants in Korea decided Wednesday to launch their first-ever strike early next week, ignoring the government's warning of stern punishments.
The Korean Government Employees Union announced that its nationwide walkout would begin Nov. 15 as a protest against the government's failure to guarantee the union members' labor rights for collective actions.
The union also accused the government of blocking the workers' vote on the planned strike. The union leadership had vowed to take the actions, regardless of the outcome of the vote.
"We decided to stop the vote and go ahead with the walkout as scheduled on Monday," Jeong Yong-hae, a spokesman for the KGEU, said in a statement.
The union said that more than 20,000 union members would rally in Seoul Monday, while members of other chapters would participate in the strike across the country.
The government declared the KGEU's action illegal, vowing to penalize any civil servants who join the planned strike. "We will punish any workers who just join the illegal strike," Labor Minister Kim Dae-hwan said.