South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday emphasized workers’ social role in promoting solidarity and cooperation, saying that they should engage in the mainstream. The presidential message intends to ask labor unions to help protect jobs for workers as part of efforts to minimize the economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Greater respect for the value of labor can make our society a better place for everyone,” said President Moon on a social media post marking Labor Day. “I will make sure that win-win situations can bring new breath and hope to the Korean economy. Workers have worked long and hard to help increase the minimum hourly wage, switch part-time jobs to permanent positions and introduce the 52-hour workweek.” He added that continuous effort is being put into overcoming economic inequalities. Previously, President Moon proposed to embark on social dialogue to protect jobs, through which labor unions refrain from strikes while companies guarantee job security. However, little progress has since been made due to different opinions among the Federation of Korea Trade Unions (FKTU) and the Korean Confederation of Trade Union (KCTU).
With the ruling party winning a majority in the National Assembly, momentum will be created to fulfill election promises that labor groups have been supportive of such as the Labor Union Act for the ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) core convention, according to some experts. “It is time to address labor issues,” Lee In-young, the floor leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, said in a meeting with the FKTU on Friday. “We have two major pending issues to tackle. We need to ensure job security in an ongoing economic emergency, while upholding the rights of marginalized workers under poor legal and institutional protection.”
Sang-Jun Han email@example.com