Go to contents

Labor Party Chair Gets Pay for No Work

Posted February. 22, 2006 04:32,   


Democratic Labor Party Chairman Moon Seong-hyun has received money for some 15 years from a company he worked after leaving it to concentrate on politics, according to the company yesterday.

S&T Dynamics, formerly Tongil Heavy Industries, revealed that Moon has received about 700,000-1,000,000 won a month from the company for the last fifteen years, and as recently as this month.

Moon, who joined Tongil Heavy Industries in 1980, was accused of leading illegal strikes in 1987 and was fired. After the Supreme Court forced his reinstatement in 1991, however, he didn’t go back to work. Instead, he took a full time job with the Korean Metal Workers Federation under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions while remaining on Tongil’s payroll. He was paid about one million won from S&K Dynamics this month.

Moon also continued to receive money from S&K while he was engaged in political activities. He was one of the founders of the Democratic Labor Party in 1999, he was elected as the party’s chairman in South Gyeongsang Province in 2004, and he was selected to lead the Democratic Labor Party this month.

Moon explained in a CBS radio interview yesterday morning that “I received wages because the company didn’t reinstate me despite the court ruling. Even if they reinstate me now, I cannot go back to work. I’m thinking I will put an end to this relationship through temporary retirement or outright retirement.”

Regarding the one million won he received this month, he said “I will return it at any time.”

Democratic Labor Party spokesperson Park Yong-jin said in a press conference yesterday afternoon, “Despite the Supreme Court ruling reinstating Moon to his previous job in 1989, the company has not complied with the ruling for the last 16 years. Accordingly, Moon made sure that he benefited from at least one of two basic rights: the right to work and the right to get paid.”

Meanwhile, criticism of Moon has been posted on the homepages of the Democratic Labor Party, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the S&T Dynamics Trade Union. A member of the S&T Dynamics Trade Union said, “I wonder if he deserves to be chairman of the Democratic Labor Party if he got paid without working.”

Cho Jun-mo, a professor of Sungkyunkwan University, said, “There is no illegality in this case because it happened when a company rejected his reinstatement. However, it raises moral issues because he drew wages while involved in party activities.”

Jung-Eun Lee weappon@donga.com lightee@donga.com