The Labor News asked 100 specialists such as unionists, employers, government officials and experts in labor
No. 1 Reform of the working hour system and follow-ups including the expansion of the flexible working hour system
The reduction of working hours was chosen again for a second consecutive year as the hottest issue to be for the year 2019. It was picked as the No. 1 labor issue last year, because there were strong expectations that the statutory working hours would be cut. However, it was chosen again this year, because there were concerns that the ‘reduced working hours’ would be increasing. The 52-hour workweek(including 12 hours of extended work) limit system was implemented from July last year. However, it has been strongly criticized that “the working hour cut was all talk and no action” for the past six months. A confusion at workplaces was created by the government when it granted a six-month grace period for the punishment and further extended the grace period for another three months. The objective of working hour cut becomes blurred when the government also attempted to expand the unit period of the flexible working hour system.
No. 2 Reform of the minimum wage hike rate and fixation system
The minimum wage hike rate was picked as the second hottest labor issue to be for a second consecutive year. Even though President Moon Jae-in made an apology immediately after the minimum wage hike rate for the year 2019 was decided that “he would not keep his promise to raise the minimum wage to 10,000 won(US$) by the year 2020,” a controversy surrounding the minimum wage hike and fixation system continued and will go on this year.
No. 3 Ratification of ILO core conventions and guarantee for trade union rights
Attention is being paid to the conclusion of the Economic, Social and Labor Council that will discuss the institutional improvement for the ratification of ILO core conventions, particularly in the year that ILO celebrates its 100th anniversary.
No. 4 Participation of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) in the Economic, Social and Labor Council
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions will decide its participation in the Economic, Social and Labor Council(ESLC) and its direction for the social dialogue in its annual delegates’ congress, as ESLC will deal with the issues of the ratification of ILO core conventions, the reform of public pension, and the flexible working hour system.
No. 5 Conversion of irregular workers to regular workers in the public sector
Despite the declaration of “zero irregular workers in the public sector’ by President Moon Jae-in two years ago, lots of frictions have been created in the job regularization process. Critics argue that subsidiaries were established to hire irregular workers in order to avoid the direct employment by the public agencies and corporations.
No. 6(tie) Outsourcing of dangerous work
This chronic issue which was highlighted with another fatal industrial accident of the late Kim Yong-gyun, a young subcontract worker, triggered public outcries to stop contracting out dangerous and hazardous works.
No. 6(tie) Employment and economic growth
The public give low credit for the performance of the Moon Jae-in government in the areas of jobs and economic activities.
No. 8 Reform of the wage system including the job-based wage system, the scope of ordinary wage components, the inclusive wage system
No. 9(tie) Future of Gwangju model job creation,
No. 9(tie) Time-off system for the labor union activities and the guarantee of basic labor rights for the workers in the special forms of employment including those in the platform economy
Persons of the year 2019 who will draw the most public attention in order were President Moon Jae-in(No.1), Kim Myung-hwan - KCTU president(No.2), Moon Sung-hyun - ESLC chairman(No.3). Lee Jae-kap – Labor Minister(No.4), Kim Ju-young – FKTU president(No.5), North Korean leader Kim Jong-un(No.6), Hong Young-pyo – floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party(No.7), Hong Nam-ki – Finance Minister(No.8), Hang Sang-gyun – former KCTU president(tie No.9).
reported by Kim Mi-young