• UPDATE : 2019.12.13 금 08:00
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[labor news] One-day general strike led by KCTU in protest of the flip of government labor policy
▲ Members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) shout slogans calling for the halt to the expansion of the unit period of the flexible working hour system and the guarantee of trade union rights in a general strike rally held on a wet and cold day of November 21 in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul. [Jeong Ki-hoon/The Labor Today]

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) went on a one-day general strike on November 21. It was the second general strike led by KCTU since the inauguration of Moon Jae-in administration.

KCTU had gone on a general strike on May 28 this year, denouncing the government and the National Assembly for pushing ahead with the expanded components of the minimum wage. About 50,000 unionized workers, mostly irregular workers, participated in the first general strike.

KCTU said that "about 160,000 members nationwide joined the general strike on November 21." It seems that most of the striking workers were the members of the Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU) which announced that 128,277 members had participated in the general strike. However, the Ministry of Employment and Labor estimated that the number would be around 90,000. The explosive strike participation increase compared with the first general strike seems to be ascribed to the retrogressive labor policy of the government and ruling party.

In relation to this, a new social dialogue body called the Economic, Social and Labor Council(ESLC) will be officially launched on November 22. ESLC plans to set an item of the agenda in the plenary meeting regarding the composition and operation of the working hour system improvement committee to discuss the expansion of the unit period of the flexible working hour system on the same day.

▲ Leaders of the industrial unions affiliated to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) smash the sign boards that read, 'flexible working hour system' and 'irregular jobs', with hammers in a ceremonial performance in a general strike rally held in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul on November 21. [Jeong Ki-hoon/The Labor Today]

Rep. Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party, said that "it is regretful that KCTU has chosen a general strike after all, instead of having a social dialogue to resolve pending main labor issues such as the expansion of the flexible working hour system."

KCTU declared that "the Moon Jae-in government is no longer the government of the candlelight revolution." It appears that the relations between labor and the government are likely to be frozen, following the general strike.

The participants in the general strike called for the suspension of the flexible working hour system, scrapping of Gwangju Model job plan, ratification of ILO core conventions, trade union rights for dependent self-employed workers, and higher income replacement ratio of the national pension.

reported by Yang Ou-ram
translated by Kim Sung-jin

번역 김성진  goyong1472@gmail.com

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