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Add`l 6-way Labor Meeting Proposed for January

Posted November. 20, 2009 19:43,   


A six-way meeting of management, labor and the government in January next year was proposed by the Federation of Korean Trade Unions yesterday. The talks will tackle resolving differences over allowing multiple unions at one company and paying wages to full-time unionists.

Two prior meetings had been held but achieved no progress. Additional talks are scheduled for today and Nov. 25, but each party will probably refuse making a compromise, experts said.

The Labor Ministry, which is determined to enforce labor laws, basically wants to unify negotiation channels by giving the collective bargaining right to the union with the majority of a company’s workers as members.

The ministry also wants labor groups to present solutions for paying wages to full-time unionists. By contrast, the labor groups say the two matters should be left to management and labor, and urge the elimination of the ban on wages for full-time unionists.

From the outset, many said the six-party meeting will produce no tangible results because management and labor cannot compromise on the two issues except taking certain supplementary measures. Both parties also seem to refuse to meet halfway over the single negotiation channel and autonomous bargaining between management and labor.

In addition, the wage issue is not a matter that can be decided by the labor sector.

Despite this, the labor sector and the government have accepted the establishment of the six-party meeting to give the public the impression that they have done everything they can to resolve their disputes through dialogue, according to experts.

Reflecting this analysis, both the Labor Ministry and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions will walk away from the meeting before and after Nov. 25.

A high-ranking ministry official said, “We don’t expect both of the two labor umbrella groups to sign an agreement with the government over the issues. Most militant labor group, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, will first withdraw from the meeting and the conservative umbrella group, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, is expected to run the meeting for the time being and then pull out.”

The confederation told reporters Tuesday that it is considering dropping out of the six-party meeting.