An employee of Kookmin Bank walks out of the bank's branch office in Seoul
An employee of Kookmin Bank walks out of the bank's branch office in Seoul.REUTERS

Employees at South Korean banks and state-run financial firms will go on a one-day strike in September in order to protest against job cuts and lower wages in the industry.

Korea Financial Industry Union (KFIU), representing about 100,000 employees from 37 financial companies including all banks in the country, said that 91% of its members voted in favour of the strike scheduled for 3 September.

Ahead of the strike, the employees plan to hold a protest rally at Yeouido, the country's key financial district, according to the union.

The union added that the protest is against issues such as the government's push to cut welfare and benefits at state-run financial firms and the appointment of high-ranking government officials at such state-run financial firms.

It will also question the country's early integration of two Hana Financial Group affiliates – Hana Bank and Korea Exchange Bank.

Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan earlier met with union leaders and asked them to cancel the strike, citing potential economic losses. However, the union decided to go ahead with the strike.

The strike would be the union's first in 14 years after about 65,000 employees protested against government-led industry mergers in July 2000.

A planned strike in 2012 failed despite receiving 91.3% votes, as two major units of the union could not participate in it.

Korean lenders are reducing their branches and employees in line with declining loan growth and shrinking profit margins. KFIU is looking to prevent job cuts amid the restructuring in the industry.

The union also wants an increase in base salaries by at least 6.1% in 2014 and a change in retirement to 60 from 57, according to a statement on its website.

It accuses the government's excessive influence over the industry and close ties between executives and politicians of destroying the sector.