Moon thanks workers for dedication in fight against virus on Labor Day

SEOUL-- President Moon Jae-in on Sunday stressed the government's efforts in enhancing labor rights as he thanked workers for their dedication in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

In his message marking the 132nd Labor Day, Moon said his government worked hard on guaranteeing fundamental labor rights in the past five years.

"We ratified key International Labor Organization conventions, raised minimum wage and exercised the 52-hour work week system ... and made progress in work-life balance," Moon wrote on his Facebook page and Twitter account. "Labor must be protected by the employment safety net."

Moon, whose five-year terms ends on May 9, also said he expects the enforcement of the Serious Accidents Punishment Act to drastically reduce workplace disasters.

The Serious Accidents Punishment Act went into effect in the country in January, under which owners and CEOs of companies with five or more employees can face a minimum one-year prison sentence or up to a fine of 1 billion won (US$791,700) in the event of serious workplace disasters.

"While overcoming the novel coronavirus, we have learned how thankful to be for essential workers' devotion," he said.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol also released a Labor Day message, saying he will work hard to make a society where the value of labor can be respected and the rights and interests of workers can be realized.

"Workers' sweat and effort were decisive for South Korea's economy to achieve today's prosperity," Yoon wrote on his Facebook page. "A society that does not properly recognize the value of labor and guarantee safety at work will have difficulty pursuing sustainable development."

Meanwhile, labor groups held various events and rallies in major cities to commemorate Labor Day, but no clashes were reported.

Some 14,000 members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the more militant of the country's two major umbrella unions, staged a rally in Seoul, demanding the government guarantee good, quality jobs for workers and basic labor rights without discrimination.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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