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Facing Opposition from Hard-liners, KCTU Failed to Return to Korea Tripartite Commission

Facing Opposition from Hard-liners, KCTU Failed to Return to Korea Tripartite Commission

Posted January. 21, 2005 22:55,   


Leaders of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) planned to return to the framework of the Korea Tripartite Commission for the first time in six years, but failed in the face of opposition from hard-liners within the organization.

The KCTU held a regular representative conference on January 20 and 21 at the Sokrisan Youth Town in Boeun-gung, North Chungcheong Province. The umbrella union attempted to decide whether to participate in a “social negotiation organization” that would be formed by reorganizing the existing tripartite commission in the conference, but failed to put the issue before the ballot due to the boycott strategy of the hard-liners.

One after another, hard-liner representatives delayed the discussion and left the conference by requesting adjournment when the issue was brought up in the early morning of January 21. As a result, the conference ended as it failed to meet the quorum of a majority of total registered representatives (393 persons).

Hard-liners that day made a five-page internal document, “Countermeasures for the Regular Representatives Conference,” which states, “Aggressive propaganda and tactics are needed to prevent voting on the issue of social negotiation.” They distributed the document among hard-liner representatives and implemented almost all of the measures.

President of the KCTU Lee Soo-ho said in a press briefing after ending the conference that he felt a large amount of responsibility and regretted having failed to approve the issue of social negotiation. He also stated that he would approve the issue without fail by gaining agreement among representatives, but he also cautioned that there would be many challenges in doing so.

The executive body of the KCTU tentatively decided to put the issue of social negation before vote in a special representative conference on January 28. If the conference concluded to return to the framework of the tripartite commission, it is expected that the tripartite representative meeting will resume (February), the reorganization plan for the tripartite commission will conclude (March), and social negotiations among laborers, management and the government will start (May).

Jong-Hoon Lee taylor55@donga.com