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SPC Chairman's office searched over alleged unjust labor practices

Prosecutors conducted a search and seizure of SPC Group Chairman Hur Young-in’s office over allegations that he coerced workers who are part of the group's affiliate company, PB Partners, to withdraw from its labor union, as well as for discriminatory practices, according to officials Monday.

On Monday morning, officials from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office searched offices belonging to Hur and three other executives as well as the company’s servers at SPC Group’s headquarters in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul. The police previously conducted a search and seizure of PB Partners’ headquarters on Oct. 12.

The police have been investigating a case regarding PB Partners, which manages the workers who manufacture all of the products sold in Paris Baguette, SPC Group’s chain of franchise bakery cafes.

PB Partners was sued by its employees under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions umbrella union. They filed an unfair labor practice complaint in May 2022, alleging that PB Partners attempted to coerce them to withdraw from the labor union under KCTU and join the Federation of Korean Trade Unions instead. They also accused PB Partners of discriminatory practices, such as not allowing KCTU member employees to get promoted.

Monday’s search and seizure was conducted to see if SPC Group's executives were directly involved in the alleged unjust labor practices at PB Partners.

Prosecutors have expanded its investigation to question at least 30 individuals, including Hur and PB Partners Chairman Hwang Jae-bok.

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