Court annuls dismissal of MBC unionists

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- A district court on Friday annulled the dismissal and suspension of 44 unionists of the country's second-largest television network, MBC, who were involved in a 2012 strike.

About 500 journalists and producers of MBC went on strike in January 2012, demanding the resignation of a former company chief for biased coverage of politically sensitive issues and the normalization of the company's role as a major public broadcaster.

After the 170-day-long walkout, the management sacked six unionists, including the former head of the union, Cheong Young-ha, and suspended 38 for playing leading roles in the strike.

Ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, the Seoul Southern District Court invalidated the management's decision and ordered it to pay 60 million won (US$56,600) each in compensation to the six unionists and 10 million won each to the others.

"The management abused its authority as fairness in media is an obligation and labor conditions must be adhered to by both the labor and management," Judge Park In-sik said in his ruling.

The union welcomed the verdict, saying that the court has acknowledged the legitimacy of the strike. The management, meanwhile, said it will appeal the ruling to a higher court.

Kim Jae-cheul, the former president and chief executive of MBC, resigned in March 2013 after the board of the company's largest shareholder decided to sack him for abusing his power.

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