President Moon pledges full support for social dialogue

SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Thursday called for efforts to address various social issues through dialogue, promising his full support for any consensus reached through social dialogue.

"To revive the economy and move toward an inclusive nation while addressing the issues of polarization and joblessness, the labor, management and government must work together," the president said in the inaugural meeting of the new Economic, Social and Labor Council (ESLC).

"We are all main actors of reform. Rather than struggling to realize our own objectives, we must find reasonable alternatives through dialogue, concessions, consensus and burden sharing," the president told the meeting held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

The new council is a presidential advisory group that replaced the tripartite commission of labor, management and government. Unlike its predecessor, the new council includes those who represent young, female workers, as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

"The ESLC truly represents a body of Korean social dialogue as it is attended by the youth, women, small and medium-sized firms, and self-employed business people who have rather been neglected," the president said.

Still, the inauguration of the new council came amid a boycott by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, one of the two umbrella labor organizations in the country, which staged a one-day walkout the day before in protest against a move to ease the new 52-hour limit on the maximum work hours.

Moon insisted social dialogue must include all major actors, especially the labor.

"First, we must make it clear that main actors in social dialogue are the labor and management. The government will focus on narrowing the difference between the labor and management as a fair arbitrator," he said.

"Most of all, inclusion and sustainability of social dialogue are important. If they agree with the need for social dialogue, they must seek ways to resolve differences through dialogue within the system," the president added.

The president said he will make sure any consensus or agreement reached by the council will be implemented.

"I will use all my power as president so agreements reached by the council will be binding and implemented," he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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