[Back] Date: Wed, 3 Dec 97 15:46:15 CST
From: rich%pencil@VM.MARIST.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: ICFT Says IMF Must "Talk" To Korean Unions
/** labr.global: 275.0 **/
** Topic: ICFT Says IMF Must "Talk" To Korean Unions **
** Written 11:03 PM Dec 2, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
ICFTU OnLine 306/971202/DD

Korean Crisis: IMF must talk to the trade unions

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, ICFTU OnLine..., 2 December 1997

Brussels. December 2 1997 (ICFTU OnLine): The absence of an effective social security and unemployment insurance system in the Republic of Korea increases the need for the Korean trade unions to be included in the IMF discussions about stabilising the Korean economy, said the two international trade union organisations, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD. "This would send a clear signal to both the Korean people and international investors that Korea's democracy is mature and reliable," said the ICFTU's General Secretary Bill Jordan. Up until now, Korea has enjoyed low unemployment and strong economic growth.

Mass sackings and lay-offs as a consequence of the economic crisis when no functioning welfare system exists for the unemployed could trigger mass unrest and pull the country even deeper into depression, which would be in nobody's interest, warned John Evans, General Secretary of TUAC.

"It would be disastrous if the government were to revert to the sort of policies that provoked the general strike earlier this year," Evans said: "The current rescue plan must be credible in the eyes of the people, not just financial markets."

Korea joined the OECD in late 1996 and has been censured since by both the ILO and the OECD for violations of core trade union rights. "Now is the time to recognise that trade unions must play a full role in developing a truly national response to the challenges Korea faces," said Jordan.

Both international organisations are in discussion with the Korean government on labour law reform. These talks now have added urgency. How Korea handles the employment impact of the stabilisation programme is reported to be a decisive issue in the current talks with the IMF, the two international trade union bodies said.

For further information, please contact ICFTU Press Office: 322 224 0202