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Expanding Demand for Five-day Workweek System among Labor Unions

Expanding Demand for Five-day Workweek System among Labor Unions

Posted May. 11, 2002 09:10,   


Considerable number of labor unions is primarily demanding 5-day workweek system (reduction of working hour) at the collective bargaining that this issue will be the largest variable in the labor-management negotiation this year.

▽ Trend of requesting 5-day workweek system = Financial Labor Union under the Federation of Korean Trade Unions is under negotiation with management, and labor union branches of health and medical industry and steel industry under the Korean Confederation of Labor Unions sent the applications for mediation to the National Labor Relations Commission(NLRC) pointing 5-day workweek system for the main issue.

And the labor unions from large companies like Hyundai Heavy Industry and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. added the 40 work hours a week to the negotiation list, and labor union of the Busan Urban Transit Authority presented `reduction of work hours without lowering of labor condition` as a proposal for the collective negotiation.

An official of central office of labor unions said, “though the capacity that local NLRC can treat is only 5 or 6 cases, each local NLRC offices have accepted over 20 cases, most of which contain the issue of 5-day workweek system. ”

▽ Worries about deformed 5-day workweek system = It seems difficult to draw up a scheme that satisfies both labors and management, as they should keep the current Labor Standard Act that stipulates 44 work hours, one monthly paid holiday, a special holiday for women and so on, when the company introduces 5-day workweek system.

In case of financial industry, management demands to balance the holidays for health (6 days) and yearly and monthly paid holidays (20 days) with no work Saturdays, while labor side is insisting on the maintenance of existing holidays.

The Ministry of Labor pointed that both labor and management might be damaged by the 5-day workweek system, as management should accept the monthly paid holiday and special holiday for women, of which management have insisted on the abolition so far, and labors could not take long term holidays, when yearly and monthly holidays are restricted on Saturday.

Korea Labor Institute predicted, “the conflict between labor and management would extend, as labor side possibly insist on the maintenance of existing holidays as they are in the collective negotiation. ”

Jin Lee leej@donga.com