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  • Title
    KOR-US FTA and the Labor Regulations of Kaesong Industrial Complex
  • Date
    2008.06.19
  • Attach
  • * This is an English-translated version of the paper released in the Quarterly Journal of Labor Policy ( Vol. 7, No. 2, 2007) published by the Korea Labor Institute in June 2007.

    * Moo-gi Moon (Professor, College of Law, Kyungpook National University, Korea Labor Institute)


    Abstract

    The Kaesong Industrial Complex was a major issue in the recent KOR-US FTA negotiations, and strong criticism has been raised on the lack of human rights protection for North Korean workers in the Kaesong Industrial Complex. In this context, the following measures should be implemented in order for the Kaesong Industrial Complex to be recognized as an Outward Processing Zone(OPZ) and for it to be operated in a vital manner. First, a transparent specialized employment agency should be established and operated as soon as possible. This agency could serve to heighten the sense of belonging to a South Korean organization on the part of North Korean workers, and also help private businesses to take the lead in personnel management issues. Second, a new ‘mechanism’ is needed to enhance labor productivity. This would be possible when North Korean workers actively volunteer to engage in a broader spectrum of management activities. Third, a system for direct wage payment must be put in place. If this does not happen in the very near future, North Korean authorities will continue to be suspected of intercepting the workers’ hard earned money. Fourth, efforts must be made to ensure that worker representatives operate in a democratic manner. The election process should be more autonomous and objective, so that worker representatives can take substantial actions to fully represent the North Korean workers and resolve labor disputes. Lastly, all such measures should be based on sincere consideration of the healthy lives of North Korean workers and the sound protection of labor-related human rights in areas such as industrial accidents, domiciles and issues on women, seniors and children. Keywords: KOR-US FTA, Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), Kaesong Industrial Complex Labor Regulations, human rights of workers