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Umbrella Union Stages Sit-in Rally at Ruling Party HQ

Posted November. 28, 2009 02:32,   


More than 10 leaders of the Federation of Korea Trade Unions waged a sit-in protest at the headquarters of the ruling Grand National Party in Seoul yesterday.

Federation chairman Chang Seok-chun told party chairman Chung Mong-joon, “There has been no change to the government’s stance in meetings of six parties representing labor, management and the government.” Chang said the federation’s protest rally will last for an indefinite period.

“For the government to allow for multiple unions and attempt to unify collective bargaining groups as it pleases is an act that crushes labor activities,” Chang said. ”We consider this a major crisis, and are immediately launching a sit-in strike at the Grand National Party’s headquarters. Unless this problem is resolved, we will declare a general strike here.”

The federation also issued a commentary saying, “We urge the Grand National Party to immediately revise the Labor Union and Labor Relations Coordination Act and remove malign clauses banning payment of salaries to full-time union leaders.”

The party again urged the government to make a prudent response. Party floor leader Ahn Sang-soo told a meeting of party leaders, “Our basic stance is to keep our policy coalition with the Federation of Korea Trade Unions at any rate.”

“The party will seek to find reasonable resolutions for the Labor Act dispute through dialogue and compromise among the party, the government and the Federation of Korea Trade Unions and handle it flexibly under the condition that the policy coalition remains intact.”

Shin Sang-jin, chairman of the party’s No. 5 policy coordination committee, also told a ruling party-government meeting yesterday, “The Labor Ministry should not unilaterally put the Labor Act into effect.”

Labor Minister Lim Tae-hee, however, said at the meeting, “The situation has lingered through collusion or in the name of compromise though we all know it is not normal.”

“We are seeking to implement the act since we judge that costs for implementation are smaller than the costs resulting from delaying its effectuation further. We will discuss and address problems and obstacles that could emerge in the course of implementation to ensure a soft landing.”