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South Korean workers take over streets in protests at new labour laws

Published 26 April 2015

 

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The sheer scale of the nationwide labor protest shows just how serious the strikers are about communicating their demands to the government.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the country's second-largest umbrella union, estimates that around 260-thousand people participated in Friday's strike in around 16 regions across the country.

Unionized workers from a wide spectrum of society participated in the strike, including the metal and construction industries, public servants and teachers.

 

 

"The government should keep its promise to create more jobs, a campaign pledge from President Park Guen-hye."

 

The unions are not happy with the government's approach to revitalizing the labor market, which calls for more flexibility.

They believe that won't create quality jobs, it will just increase the number of irregular positions, making it easier for employers to lay off workers and lower wages.

The union is also calling for a minimum pay hike from the current five U.S. dollars to just over nine-dollars.

It also wants an end to the government's plan to reform the pension system for public servants.

Finally, they want all laborers -- whether in regular or irregular positions -- to be protected under the country's Labor Standard Act, which states that management needs "justifiable" grounds for dismissal.

The government has already addressed some of their demands.

Last month, Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan expressed support for a limited raise to the minimum wage.

But business leaders, including Park Yong-man, the head of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that's a no-go with the sluggish economy.

Park said increasing wages would hamper international competitiveness and undermine the country's exports in the long term.

 

(Stand-up)

"The unions say they will continue striking until their demands are met.

On May first, around 100-thousand people are expected to gather again to mark International Workers' Day.

Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News."

Reporter : jiyeonkim@arirang.co.kr



https://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=178920

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