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Trilateral Talks on Temporary Workers Act Fail

Posted July. 01, 2009 04:47,   


Representatives from the ruling Grand National Party, the main opposition Democratic Party and the minor Renewal Party of Korea yesterday struggled to reach an agreement on revising the Non-regular Workers Act by the deadline.

The ruling party warned that up to 40,000 temporary workers could lose their jobs in July if the law is not amended.

The three parties made concessions but failed to reach an agreement. The ruling party consented to an 18-month grace period but the Democratic Party wanted one year.

In a general meeting of lawmakers, ruling party floor leader Ahn Sang-soo said, “I expect National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o to exercise his right to bring up the irregular workers’ bill if he doesn’t want to see them lose their jobs.”

Choo Mi-ae, who heads the parliamentary committee for the environment and labor, rejected Ahn`s request to bring up the bill to the committee early in the morning. "First of all, the ruling and opposition parties and labor should reach an agreement,” Choo said.

After the general meeting, the ruling party announced a resolution saying the main opposition party should assume full responsibility if a mass of temporary workers lose their jobs due to failure to pass the bill.

Prime Minister Han Seung-soo urged revision of the act at a meeting with Speaker Kim, ruling party chairman Park Hee-tae and Lee Hoi-chang, the leader of the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party, at the National Assembly.

Kim, however, implied that he did not want to exercise his right to bring up the bill, saying, “Public opinion seems not to be fully formed.”

Democratic Party members also occupied the central hall located in front of the National Assembly hall to prevent the ruling party from encouraging Kim to exercise his right and unilaterally pass the bill.

In the general meeting, they decided to join forces to prevent ruling party representatives from entering the hall and threatened to enter and use all kinds of measures to prevent the bill`s passage if ruling party members got through.

A key ruling party official said, “We will not unilaterally deal with the bill even when negotiations are broken off. We’ll keep negotiating in July but we cannot make more concessions.”