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KEF, Opposed to Labor Policy of New Government

Posted March. 04, 2003 22:51,   


The Korea Employers Federation distributed “Instructions for 2003 Collective Agreements” today to about 4000 member companies with recommendations to capitalize on the provisional disposition system of civic law and claims for damage. it strongly refuses to take part in negotiations with industrial unions.

The Instructions are expected to spark conflict among government, labor and management bodies since it is against the principles of labor-management relations the Presidential Office supports.

The instructions consist of 74 categories that management should put focus on during the course of collective agreement negotiations this year including reduction of labor hours, irregular workers, participation of unions on personnel and management decisions, work safety conditions, industrial accident compensation and responsibility for illegal strikes.

The Federation recommended that its members take disciplinary measures over illegal labor activities, claim damages against unions or utilize a provisional disposition system of civic law, and not to accept exemption requests from unions.

In addition, the Federation emphasized that its members should maintain a hard stance against industrial unions. The Instructions said that member companies, forging alliances with trade associations, should dissuade employees regarding industrial unions.

The Instructions also recommend that companies should “not accept requests from unions of making irregular workers regular since there is no legislation regarding irregular workers.”

Moreover, the Federation recommended responding to the request of reducing legal work hours from labor unions with reduction of special leave and summer holidays or replacing them with annual and monthly leave.

The Instructions have drawn attention since it contradicts the final report on policy directions issued by the President Roh. The Presidential Office said in its report that it would try to establish a consensus system by taking measures to prevent employers from abusing claims for damages and provisional seizures, and enhancing activities of the regional and industrial Tripartite Commissions.

President Roh also emphasized that labor conditions of irregular workers should be improved, which is the opposite stance of the Federation. The labor community is expected to resist the Instructions since they recommend that employers use up annual leave before the five-day work week system is introduced this year, as promised by President Roh.

The Instructions also state that decisions regarding personnel are the sole right of management and are not subject to labor-management negotiations and that management should refuse to have negotiations over management rights.

Joong-Hyun Park sanjuck@donga.com