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Limit Damage Lawsuits and Provisional Seizure

Posted October. 29, 2003 22:44,   


The government announced its plan to revise the law to ensure normal activities and livelihood of labor unions and its members even when they are amid damage lawsuits and provisional seizure.

Based on law and principle, the government also pledged to act strictly against illegal protests.

Minister of Justice Kang Gum-sil, Minister of Administration and Home Affairs Huh Sung-kwan, and Minister of Labor Kwon Ki-hong released a statement on October 19. The statement came after a series of suicides by labor union members.

In its statement, the government expressed regrets to the suicides of labor union members but said actions pursued at the expense of human lives can never be justified. It emphasized that labor unions, companies, and the government have to join forces to realize an advanced industrial relationship, urging the labor unions to solve the problem through dialogue and compromise.

In addition, the government announced that it will pursue the revision of damage and provisional seizure related laws to prevent the employers from abusing them.

Minister Kwon said, “The government will find measures to ensure minimum wage or minimum living allowances for the workers even when the company claims charge for damages and provisional seizure. He also explained that the government would find ways to guarantee normal activities of the labor unions even after provisional seizure of labor union membership fee.

The government is expected to revise the law to lower the maximum limit of provisional seizure which is currently 50 percent of wage and to limit the range of provisional seizure.

Kwon also said that the government decided to submit a bill to National Assembly in order to prevent irregular workers from discrimination and restrict employers from abusing irregular employment. He added, “In particular, the government will come up with measures within this year to protect irregular workers in public sector and implement them from next year on a step-by-step approach.

The government plans to request the Supreme Court to be more cautious when ordering provisional seizure. In addition, the government will pursue measures to bring the employers to justice if they misuse provisional seizures to interfere with labor unions’ activities.

However, the labor unions said the government’s plan is still not enough to deal with the current situation.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said the government has to withdraw its damage lawsuits and provisional seizure application in the public sector immediately and stop discrimination against irregular workers. It insisted that the government’s plans to improve labor policies are “empty promises.”

The Federation of Korean Trade Unions also criticized the belated government’s policy urging the government to stop oppressive stance against labor unions first before asking them to stop strikes.

Jong-Hoon Lee Kyung-Joon Chung taylor55@donga.com news91@donga.com