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Why are Public Institutions Strongly against the Relocation Plan?

Why are Public Institutions Strongly against the Relocation Plan?

Posted March. 22, 2005 22:09,   


Among the labor unions of 10 major public institutions headquartered in the capital area, eight of those including the Korea Resources Corporation (KORES), Agricultural and Fishery Marketing Corporation (AFMC), Korea Agricultural and Rural Infrastructure Corporation (KARICO), Korea National Housing Corporation (KNHC), Korea National Tourist Organization (KNTO), Korea Highway Corporation (KHC), Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), are reportedly opposed to the relocation of public institutions to local areas currently pursued by the government. The Korea Land Corporation (KLC) and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), two of whom had remained reserved about the plan, were also found to be discontent with the transfer process.

As a result, from next month, when the discussion on the relocation plan between the government and the ruling party progresses earnestly, friction is expected with surfacing opposition from the labor unions of the government-linked corporations.

Dong-A Ilbo`s survey conducted on March 21-22 of 10 major public institutions regarding the relocation of their headquarters shows that the eight corporations oppose the relocation due to: personal issues such as child education, residential environment, and family disintegration, and decreased work efficiency from losing proximity with business-related agencies and companies, adjacency to the government and the National Assembly, and convenience in foreign exchange.

In particular, a survey of KORES employees revealed that a prevailing majority was opposed to transferring the headquarters. “As more than 60 percent of the employees have children attending secondary schools, many were concerned about their children’s education,” a KORES official said.

The AFMC argues that it has to stay in the capital area with the large population to enhance competitiveness by distributing agricultural goods conveniently and quickly. One of the other rationales for its objection was that 90 percent of agricultural exporters were doing business in Seoul and its vicinity.

The KNOC claimed that given the nature of its work focused on oil field development overseas, it would be greatly affected from the competition with foreign large oil companies if it moved out of the capital area, where most of foreign businesses and financial institutions are concentrated.

The KNTO, on its part, is against the relocation plan on the grounds that over 90 percent of hotels and tourist agencies, the mainstay of the tourist industry, is clustered in Seoul.

“Some 300 employees are engaged in works led by the National Assembly and government ministries every day, so relocation will mean a significant dent in work efficiency,” Moon Byung-hoon, the KHC’s union chairman of the Seoul regional branch, contended. “Even if it still has to be moved, it must be near the administrative city.”

Myoung-Gun Lee Ho-Won Choi gun43@donga.com bestiger@donga.com