Line 9 is operated in two parts. The first by the French-owned RATP Dev/Transdev joint venture, and the second by a private Korean operator.
Workers on the line are members of the ITF-affiliated Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU) who recently announced: “Through this campaign we seek to build enough pressure for Seoul city government to cancel its contract with RATP Dev/Transdev and integrate Line 9 into the public Seoul Metro Corporation”.
Line 9 workers have long working hours and inferior conditions to those of workers on the publicly run lines 1 to 8. Fatigued drivers, insufficient station staff and lack of investment in rolling stock and infrastructure puts passenger safety at risk.
Recently, KPTU members and civil society organisations carried out a survey of Line 9 passengers. In it, 70 percent of respondents complained about high congestion levels and lack of station staff, while 92 percent supported public ownership of the line.
This demand was delivered to city hall and five progressive political parties have also supported public ownership ahead of local government elections in Seoul on 13 June 2018.
Under the banner of the ITF’s Our Public Transport (OPT) programme, urban transport unions are strengthening their networking and campaigning in multinational companies.
FNST-CGT in France issued a statement in solidarity with the KPTU campaign: “The FNST-CGT is lending its full support to our KPTU colleagues in their campaign for the municipalisation of Line 9”.
Other ITF unions in RATP Dev and Transdev in the United States, New Zealand, Germany and Algeria also sent messages of support.
Asbjorn Wahl, chair of the ITF urban transport committee, said: “All over the world we see that multinational companies are taking over public services and turning them into profit seeking opportunities which undermine workers’ wages, working conditions and quality of services. You are not alone! We stand with you in the fight for public ownership of Our Public Transport!”.