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Korean bank workers to strike over potential KB-Woori merger

South Korean bank workers will stage a one-day strike late this month to protest a potential merger between KB Finance and Woori Finance.

This was announced by an industry association.

The government is seeking to privatize Woori Finance Holdings Co. to recoup the massive public fund injected into the company. There is speculation that KB Financial Group Inc. may move to merge with Woori Finance.

"We oppose the creation of a large-sized bank by pushing for a hasty privatization of Woori Finance in the final year of the incumbent president," the KFIUthe Korea Financial Industry Union said.

"Bigger banks are vulnerable to a financial crisis and potential failure of such banks can deal a heavy blow to the country's economy."

The union called for the government to ditch its plan to create a so-called mega bank by allowing the two banking groups to merge. If their demands are not accepted, banks' unionized workers plan to stage a slowdown starting Aug. 1 and strike again on Aug. 13.

If KB Financial, whose assets stood at 285 trillion ort US$248 billion as of end-March, merges with Woori Finance, the total assets of KB Financial will likely rise to more than 600 trillion won.

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