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Roh Thanks Staff for Union Bill Work

Posted December. 05, 2005 07:09,   


On December 2, President Roh Moo-hyun posted a short note replying to an article on the official website for the government’s press releases. The note read, “Thank you for your hard work.” It is not his first time he has posted short notes on his office’s website. Roh’s comment was interesting because the article the president replied to covered the passage of a bill to change the employment practices of maritime unions, and the president’s past work on this subject.

The special bill passed the National Assembly on December 1. The bill aims to end the exclusive right of maritime unions to provide port workers. If enacted, the law will enable freight companies to directly employ workers without having to hire through unions. According to the law, non-union members will also be allowed to seek employment.

He started his career as a politician in the 13th National Assembly, in which Roh repeatedly pointed to problems in the way maritime unions get in the way of providing labor to companies. The president could have expressed his appreciation to relevant ministries including the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries for the passage of the union bill on the official website because of his personal link to the subject of the special bill.

In February 1989, President Roh pointed to lax oversight by the Labor Ministry while participating in the parliamentary committee on labor with then-Minister of Labor Chang Young-cheol. “Some elements of the (maritime) unions abuse their authority. I find it very hard to resist the suspicion that those in power are protecting these elements,” said Roh to then Minister Chang.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com