Militant labor group to stage one-day strike over key labor policies

SEOUL, Members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), a militant labor umbrella group, are to stage a one-day strike nationwide Thursday to protest the Moon Jae-in government's key labor policies.

The KCTU expects more than 50,000 member laborers to walk out for longer than four hours at their respective workplaces, while some skeptics say the actual number of participants could be far smaller than the forecast.

Indeed, the union of Hyundai Motor Co., one of the largest workplaces under the wing of the KCTU, said only its leaders will take part in the strike due to ongoing internal negotiations with management.

The labor group has called the strike vowing to prevent the revision of labor laws for the worse, protect basic labor rights, reduce the use of non-regular workers, speed up chaebol reform, condemn the Moon government for its failure to raise the legal minimum wage to 10,000 won (US$8.47) for next year and protest the government's additional labor repressions.

The KCTU, whose nearly 1 million members make it one of the nation's largest labor groups, has been intensifying pressure on the Moon government over its key labor policies, including the mandatory 52-hour workweek and abolition of discrimination against non-regular workers.

Strike participants are to hold outdoor protest rallies in Seoul and other cities nationwide.

In particular, a rally in front of the National Assembly in Seoul's Yeouido district is expected to draw a large number, as the parliament is to hold a deliberation on a revision of the Labor Standards Act to extend statutory flextime from three to six months to minimize side effects of the 52-hour workweek policy.

The government and employers want to double the unit period of the 52-hour workweek from the current three months to give more flexibility to certain industries vulnerable to seasonal demand risks, whereas the labor side insists the extension of the unit period will only aggravate the overwork problem.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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