According to sources close to the banking industry, an increasing number of financial institutions including KB Financial Group, Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank are addressing calls from labor to include a union representative on the board of directors.
Spearheading the change in the labor and management relationship is the labor union at KB Financial Group, which is set to promote a new union representative as a board member candidate at the general shareholders meeting in March.
The union at KB Financial Group attracted a fair amount of media coverage last November after pushing for a representative of a union interest group to become an outside director. This year, the union is projected to back Kwon Soon-won, a professor of business administration, as a candidate.
The move comes on the heels of criticism over the issues of overlaps of legal expertise that last year’s candidate faced, as the KB union is poised to back a non-judicial officer this year.
Previously, Shinhan Bank announced plans to uphold a better representation of labor at the top corporate level.
Unlike the union at KB Financial Group, which is pushing forward an agenda item at the shareholder meeting, the labor union at Shinhan Bank will appeal directly to management and plans to recommend an outside director who can better address the issues concerning workers.
While the Shinhan labor union is set to submit the plan officially to the bank at a representative convention which will be held next month, Woori Bank announced last month it will seek recommendations from its labor union in choosing the candidate for the position of outside director.
Woori Bank’s decision comes after a change took place last month allowing stockholders to influence management decisions in the future.
With change in the air in the banking sector, a labor union representative at KEB Hana Bank made a statement on the issue.
“We are calling for the current board of directors to step down and hold an emergency shareholder meeting to make it possible for minority shareholders to serve as outside directors,” the representative said.
President Moon Jae-in pledged to better represent labor by encouraging companies to appoint labor-friendly board directors during his presidential campaign last year.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)