Gov't Seeks New Paradigm for New Labor-Management

Article excerpt

A top labor affairs advisor to President Kim Dae-jung yesterday called on the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to shed its ``old-style militant approach'' and adjust itself to a new democratic and market-oriented paradigm in labor-management relations.

Kim Yoo-bae, senior presidential secretary for labor affairs, said it is anachronistic for the KCTU leadership to take to the streets to realize its goals.

``The KCTU and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions agreed with the government last year to implement public sector reform, including the rationalization of the Seoul Subway Corporation,'' Kim said. ``But now the KCTU is calling on the government to nullify legalized layoffs and scrap the subway restructuring plan.''

The government can no more compromise on reforming the labor sector than it can on retooling the chaebol, the former Sunkyunkwan University economics professor said.

He noted that the Kim Dae-jung administration has made efforts to promote the rights of workers and trade organizations.

``For example, the government legally acknowledged the existence of the KCTU, which former administrations had branded as an illegal and militant union,'' Kim said. ``Moreover, under revised laws, labor organizations are granted the right to participate in political activities and raise political funds. …