The Korea Herald


Two major labor unions in crisis: experts

By 정주원

Published : Feb. 4, 2016 - 20:19

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The country's two umbrella labor groups have recently lost their organizational power and are faced with their own internal strives, labor industry experts said Thursday.

   The Korea Confederation of Trade Unions initially planned to go on an indefinite walkout in protest of the government's adoption of contentious labor guidelines.

   However, the KCTU's general strike has de-facto ended in February, the experts said, adding that there has not been a single rally despite its plan to hold it every day.

   "It is an undeniable fact that the central force of the rallies and the strike was lost," said Kwon Hyuk, a professor at Busan University. KCTU's latest rally on Jan. 30, which was held in central Seoul.

   The Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), which represented the labor sector in trilateral talks with management and the government, is also undergoing an internal feud.

   The group held a rally in central Seoul on Jan. 29, but only a small number of union members participated mainly due to their opposition against the leadership's decision last month to annul a tripartite agreement.

   President Park Geun-hye postponed the revision to the bill on fixed-term and part-time workers, one of the two most disputed bills, as a result of the leadership's move.

   The revision was supposed to largely benefit workers in transportation and distribution sectors, which comprises a large portion of the FKTU members, the experts said.

   "The revision to the bill on fixed-term workers -- which could have greatly reduced the number of irregular positions in transportation and distribution sectors -- was postponed because of the (leadership's) decision to annul the tripartite agreement," said Ryu Geun-joog, an FKTU member. (Yonhap)