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KEF chief urges self-help plans, says not to expect help from government

The head of a major business lobby on Tuesday urged local companies and their workers to work together to ensure their survival, noting they may not expect any meaningful help from the government for some time.

"It appears we may not see any economy-supporting politics for a while due to the complicated political schedule that includes the impeachment and presidential election," Bahk Byong-won, chairman of the Korea Employers Federation, said at a Seoul meeting.

KEF Chairman Bahk Byong-won (Yonhap)
KEF Chairman Bahk Byong-won (Yonhap)

"What we meant by asking the government and the political community to create a business-friendly environment was to make it possible for us to do what we have not been able to, but we may not expect such changes for some time," he added.

Bahk insisted local companies still needed to do what they have not been able to because of many difficulties facing them.

"We are now faced with difficulties that we have never faced before, while the continued political and social chaos is adding to our difficulties," he said. "Many bills that will help increase corporate investment and create jobs continue to sit idly at the National Assembly for years, while many companies remain unsure of where to invest."

The KEF chairman said the only remaining key for local firms and their management may be a better and enhanced cooperation with their laborers.

For this reason, the KEF has set the establishment of new labor relations to overcome the economic crisis and create new jobs as its main objective for the year, he noted.

"Companies are the ones that make jobs. We ask you to do your best even in such difficult conditions now facing us," he told the meeting, held to name and award KEF members with best labor relations.

Bahk said the management and laborers needed to work together and create new jobs for the young, partly by reducing the working hours of existing employees.

Also, the KEF chief urged immediate and stern measures against any illegal or unlawful labor activities.

"We are beginning to see attempts to instigate militant labor movements amid the political unrest. We fear such movements may lead to prolonged wage negotiations, and increased tension at many businesses undergoing restructuring," he said. (Yonhap)

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