General strike to begin Dec. 1

Restrictions on the hiring of contingent workers in Korea at root of dispute
||Last Updated: 01/11/2006

Korea’s second largest labour umbrella group is planning a general strike to protest the government’s policies on contingent workers.

About 52 per cent of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union’s (KCTU) members participated in the strike vote, with more than 60 per cent voting in support of the action.

The vote authorizes all workplaces under the KCTU to enter a general strike starting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 1.

The KCTU and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, Korea’s largest labour umbrella group, had been negotiating with business leaders and policymakers about the proposed government bill on contingent workers (part-time, temporary and contract workers). The biggest sticking point has been on setting limitations on the hiring of these workers.

Business leaders, led by the Korea Employers Federation and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, want companies to be able to hire contingent workers without limitations for three years. The labour groups want that period to be reduced to one year.

The Ministry of Labour said the general strike would be illegal under Korean labour law because it is based on political issues rather than labour conditions or wages.

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