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Labor Unions To Ban Offer Of Slush Funds

Posted December. 18, 2003 23:09,   


The labor world has decided to formally insert a provision into the agreement documents between labor and management bodies prohibiting the offer of illegal slush funds to the political world.

According to the decision, the problem related to political funds is expected to become the biggest issue in the labor world during the 2004 “spring struggles” when most wage negotiations take place.

On December 18, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), held a press conference and revealed that their branch labor unions would jointly require at the negotiating table in 2004 a prohibition on offering slush funds to the political world, the expulsion of the management bodies related to the slush funds and the preparation of a base to boost fair management practices.

The Federation of Korean Trade Union (FKTU) has also planned to require a provision banning the illegal fund supply to corrupt politicians, ordering each of its branch unions to follow suit at the negotiation table next year.

As a matter of fact, the labor unions also urged the prohibition of slush fund offers in the mid-1990s, when the Hanbo slush funds incident broke out, but failed to achieve it except at some companies that included Keyang Electricity and Iljin Metal.

This time their resolution is firmly fixed though. In fact, at the metal labor union’s negotiating table today they selected the measure wiping out the custom of offering slush funds as an official theme of the talks.

In addition, the KCTU has confirmed that it would file a complaint against both the management bodies, which organized the slush funds and offered them to problematic politicians, and the politicians, who accepted the money. As for the relevant companies and their chief executives, they decided to file damage compensation lawsuits against them. In order to carry this out, they will select the complaint corps and representative litigation bodies from among the members of the relevant companies’ labor union as well as the small shareholders damaged by the slush fund incident.

“We cannot help being indignant about the fact that the chaebols, or family-owned conglomerates, and company owners have offered tens of millions in slush funds to the political world,” said the KCTU, adding, “Federation of Korea Industries, which has been reduced to the ‘Federation of Slush Fund Industries,’ should be dismantled immediately.”

Kyung-Joon Chung news91@donga.com