Labor minister nominee a career official with labor-management expertise
SEOUL-- An Kyung-duk, President Moon Jae-in's new pick for minister of employment and labor, is a career official with a knack for mediating settlements between labor and management.
The nominee, 57, has been a standing member of the Economic, Social and Labor Council, a presidential advisory body, since September 2019.
Before that, he served in various roles at the ministry, including as director of the office of planning and coordination and director of the office of labor policy.
During his time on the council, An is credited with helping produce a tripartite agreement in July between labor, management and the government on ways to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
His nomination raises speculation that the Moon administration is seeking to use his expertise to draw a tripartite compromise amid the ongoing pandemic.
"An is the right person to stabilize labor-management relations and improve cooperation between the sides," the Korea Enterprises Federation, a nongovernmental entity, said.
The Federation of Korean Trade Unions, one of the two major umbrella labor groups, also praised the nominee's efforts for social dialogue.
"We hope he will become a minister of employment and labor who works until the end to realize the Moon Jae-in government's administrative goal of a society that respects labor," it said.
An was born in Hongcheon, 102 kilometers east of Seoul, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in politics and foreign policy from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul.
In 1989, he passed the highest civil service exam administered by the state and began his public service in the labor ministry.
Source: Yonhap News Agency