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Sender: o-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 97 12:15:07 CST
From: rich@pencil.gwu.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Korea parties Agree To Scab Labr In New Bill
Article: 7071

/** headlines: 154.0 **/
** Topic: Korea parties Agree To Scab Labr In New Bill **
** Written 12:16 PM Mar 10, 1997 by josue in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 8:40 PM Mar 9, 1997 by labornews@igc.org in labr.global */
/*—-------- Korea parties Agree To Scab Labr In—-------- */

From: Institute for Global Communications <labornews@igc.apc.org>
Subject: Korea parties Agree To Scab Labr In New Bill

Parties Putting Final Touches on Joint Bill on New Labor Laws

By Shin Yong-bae, Korea Herald, 1 March 1997

The rival parties yesterday put final touches on joint bills to replace the unpopular labor laws that were railroaded through the National Assembly last December in a secret ruling party session. The joint bills, which the ruling and opposition sides claim would restore many suspended labor freedoms, will delay for two years the carrying out of a controversial provision making it easier for companies to lay off workers en masse.

Businessmen had welcomed the provision giving them a freer hand to fire employees, but workers had vehemently opposed it. The bills also allow the immediate formation of umbrella labor groups but delay the formation of two unions at one work site until 2002.

The incumbent labor laws ban the formation of more than two umbrella labor federations until 2002, like unions at work sites. The ban has prompted an uproar from the outlawed but powerful Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), which engineered widespread labor protests in January.

The bills allow companies to mobilize their non-union members as substitutes for strikers. On whether workers on strike should be paid, the rival parties had failed to reach an agreement by yesterday afternoon. But the parties said they would be able to remove the stumbling block to the passage of the labor bills soon.

The opposition has called for the deletion of the provision calling for no-work, no-pay, while the ruling New Korea Party has opposed it. On whether companies should pay union leaders, the rival virtually agreed that the payment should be made only until 2001.

The parties also agreed that an agreement between labor and management on wages is valid for only one year. The current laws call for two years. But they agreed not to allow the right of teachers and government employees to unionize.

The rival parties have drafted new labor bills since President Kim Young-sam promised the revision of the controversial laws in January in the face of mounting public uproar. But the passage of the laws in December triggered widespread labor strikes, the most serious industrial unrest since the Kim government was inaugurated in early 1993.

The 21-day strikes crippled the nation’s auto, shipyard and other key industries, which resulted in some $3 billion in lost production and exports. The labor turmoil was a serious blow to the national economy, which had been troubled by the largest-ever current account deficit of $23.7 billion in 1996.