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KLI Employment & Labor Brief No. 86 (2019-01): Assessment of Industrial Relations in 2018 and Outlook for 2019
KLI Employment & Labor Brief No. 86 (2019-01): Assessment of Industrial Relations in 2018 and Outlook for 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    1. Industrial Relations in 2018 through Statistics

    2. Assessment of Industrial Relations in 2018, at the Period of Labor Regime Transition

    3. Industrial Relations Outlook for 2019

    4. Conclusion

     

    Summary

    The Moon Jae-In government, born of the “candlelight uprising” also known as Korea's version of participatory democracy, has pledged to create jobs, reduce the share of non-regular jobs and improve their working conditions and create a society that respects labor. It raised expectations for a shift into an alternative labor regime (at least partially) from the 1987 labor regime. However, there were more concerns than expectations being expressed in industrial relations in 2018, the second year of the Moon government. Worsening employment indicators, widening income gap, and resistance by small businesses have generated an opposing force to the current government's policymaking, giving more weight to “pro-growth.” The prevalent view is that promises for a labor-respecting society are being implemented only partially and slowly. Minimum wage did increased, but its calculation basis became broader. Working hours per week have been limited to 52 hours, but the government and ruling party stated their intent to extend the application period for flexible working hours. Promises were made to ratify the ILO core conventions and guarantee unions' rights, but it is seeking to guarantee basic labor rights on a limited basis. This paper reviews industrial relations in 2018 and looks ahead to 2019.