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`Companies Reimbursed Striking Workers for Back Pay`

Posted August. 20, 2008 07:32,   


Companies are under fire for reimbursing striking employees for wages lost over the walkout period.

Authorities are reportedly looking into violations of the “no work, no wage” doctrine, as employers allegedly paid lost wages in the form of allowances.

Labor Minister Lee Young-hee recently told The Dong-A Ilbo, “To appease belligerent unions, employers have paid wages lost in the walkout period in the form of bonuses and allowances. It’s against the doctrine of ‘no work, no wage` and we are looking into the violations.”

“Such leniency is likely to encourage workers to strike. They can still get their paychecks. We will thoroughly check which companies have committed this illegal practice and also disclose their names.”

President Lee Myung-bak also stressed Saturday the “no work, no pay” principle in a Cabinet meeting, saying, “(When a strike is over), an employer usually gives its employees who went on strike back pay disguised as allowances. We must stop this practice and set forth rules and principles.”

The Korea Employers Federation urged its member companies Aug. 12 that they must adhere to the principle and hold striking unions liable for criminal and civil violations.

In a written memo to member companies, the federation said they should keep in mind that appeasement of unions for the sake of smooth relationship with labor has encouraged repeated illegal strikes.

Lawmaker Ahn Hong-jun of the ruling Grand National Party said over the phone that he will introduce a bill on penalizing an employer that violates the principal.

“It`s not right for an employer to violate the principal and compensates an employee for unlawful labor activity with cash. I will introduce a bill to amend labor union law to prevent this practice for good,” he said.