"Building a Society Respecting Labor! Accomplishing the Policy Pact!"
Federation of Korean Trade Unions held the Pan Korean Workers' rally along with a fundraising event for victims of Pohang earthquake.
The FKTU president emphasized 'establishment of detailed implementation plans for the policy pact and restoration of social dialogue'.
On November 18(Sat.), the Pan Korean Workers’ rally started off with a vigorous but cute shouting by children of union members at the Seoul Station Plaza. Those children cried out that we greeted you with love.
In the rally, about 10,000 unionists and their family members participated and urged establishment of a labor-respecting society and fulfillment of the policy pact. They took a new form of rally different from existing ones by staging a variety of performances such as regional branches' singing performance, free speeches of citizens and unionists, independent music bands’ performance, and ceremonial performance in which all union members took part under the slogan of “Workers Are the Republic of Korea.” At the same time, there was a fundraising event to help union members and their families victimized by Pohang earthquake.
FKTU President Kim Ju-young said in his speech, “a road map has been drawn up for abolition of administrative guidelines pushed ahead by the previous government, drastic increase in the minimum wage, and creation of additional 81,000 jobs in the public sector.” “Taking this opportunity, I would like to welcome the labor-friendly policies of the Moon Jae-in administration,” he added.
President Kim also stated that “this is beginning of our efforts toward a labor-respecting society.” “However, Korea has not yet ratified core ILO conventions, the international standard of labor rights, and the bill containing the common sense that holiday work is included in overtime work is still pending in the National Assembly,” he pointed out.
“Workers in the exceptional businesses from the statutory working hours and recess, stipulated in Article 59 of the Labor Standard Act, are suffering from long working hours in a life and safe threatening situation at this very moment,” the FKTU president added. “Since to resolve the issue is one of the tasks that President Moon Jae-in pledged to tackle, the government and the ruling party should hurry to come up with a specific implementation plan for the purpose.”
FKTU President Kim reiterated restoration of social dialogue saying that social dialogue of Korea had compelled workers to sacrifice and make concessions. "In particular, social dialogue is necessary to improve rights of unorganized workers who are not protected by trade unions," he argued. Lastly, President Kim expressed his hope, stating "as even the President Moon Jae-in showed his position clearly for restoration of social dialogue, the government should not make the error of missing the golden time to restore social dialogue due to an internal difference of opinions in the government."
Mun Gye-sun, president of the National Labor Union for Extras, made an ad-hoc speech arguing "irregular workers are suffering from employment instability and the minimum wage." She raised her voice, saying "I hope we live in a society where the value of labor is respected and workers are proud of their jobs." Ju In-doo, head of Anyang Regional Branch of the Korean Postal Workers' Union, insisted "the special provision for exemption from the statutory working hours and recess is the main culprit of long working hours and deaths from overwork so it should be scraped." "The government should discard wrong administrative interpretation and the National Assembly is required to make revision of the related law," he urged.
"Collaborators of the former Park Geun-hye administration are still trying to expand their power even after the new administration took reign," said Park Hong-bae, head of KB Kookmin Bank Trade Union Local in the following ad-hoc speech by participated trade unions. "The KB Kookmin Trade Union has held an all-night demonstration for over 40 days calling for resignation of KB Kookmin Bank CEO, Yoon Jong-kyu in order to protect the public character of finance institutions and be a true partner of Korean people."
President Kim Ju-hoon of enterprise level trade union of Sun Core explained " sound and strong hidden small companies were collapsed overnight by speculation funds." "A precondition for new jobs to be effective is a guarantee for existing decent jobs," he added. The trade union president went on to say that the government and the presidential office should make it sure that there is no place for speculators to soothe workers' pain away.
On the day, participants of the rally declared a resolution to keep fighting for achievement of intact three labor rights, jobs guaranteeing appropriate working conditions and life, no-more irregular positions, and reduction in working hours and autonomous decision on full-time unionists between labor and management.