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Labor Ministry Moves Toward OK of Multiple Unions

Posted April. 14, 2009 11:15,   


The Labor Ministry said yesterday that it will move toward allowing multiple unions at one company by June 30.

A high-ranking ministry official said yesterday, “If the establishment of multiple unions is allowed from next year, management has to negotiate with each union of a company unless they unify negotiation channels. Accordingly, we decided to suggest revised bills that stipulate unification of negotiation channels, measures of collective bargaining, and related procedures to the National Assembly by June 30.”

Measures discussed to unify negotiation channels include the exclusive majority system, in which the union that wins the election has the right to bargain, and the proportional representation system, in which representatives are elected in proportion to the number of each union’s members.

The Economic and Social Development Commission will finish its discussion to unify negotiation channels and improve the system to pay wages to full-time union officers by the end of June.

The ministry has ordered the national construction and transportation unions to voluntarily correct their practices twice, saying, “It is illegal for the owners of vehicles such as dump trucks and cement mixers to participate in unions.”

The two unions face being labeled “outlaw” unions if the order is not followed. An outlawed union cannot exercise the right to go on strike or bargain collectively as guaranteed by labor law.

The Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union was legalized in 1999 after being designated an outlaw union in 1989 when launched. Thus 1,500 teachers who joined the union before 1999 were fired.