President Park Geun-hye said Monday she won't let debt-ridden public institutions continue to be run in extravagant ways, warning she won't tolerate any labor attempts to scuttle her drive to reform the public sector.
"It is extremely worrisome that labor unions at public institutions are showing signs of banding together in order to resist normalization reforms, and the people won't tolerate this either," Park said during a weekly meeting with senior secretaries.
"If the public sector puts up resistance in order to continue with lax management at a time when ordinary citizens are tightening their belts due to (economic) difficulties, we should thoroughly reveal the realities to the people," she said.
Park also warned that the government will make sure to penalize anti-reform acts.
Reform of the public sector is one of Park's key agenda items for this year.
In a New Year's press conference, Park said she would pursue a three-year economic renovation plan to spur growth and increase per capita income, with particular focus on fixing abnormal practices, nurturing an innovative economy and boosting domestic demand.
Park also emphasized that fixing abnormalities will begin with public sector reform.
Public firms and organizations have been under fire for the lax and extravagant way they have been run, such as doling out what many see as excessive bonuses, benefits and perks to their employees, despite their fast-growing debts and deteriorating business conditions.
On Monday, Park said that lax management at public institutions is so serious that it is hard for the people to even believe it. She cited as an example that the 12 most-indebted public firms spent more than 300 billion won ($280 million) in welfare expenses for their employees over the last five years.
Park said the practice of providing excessive welfare benefits must be rooted out.
"It would be difficult for the people to accept that public firms, which are supposed to be run in a way that is exemplary and conforms to national interests, have continued with lax management like this for such a long period of time," Park said.
"This lax management should never have been allowed under this government." (Yonhap News)