Tuesday, March 07, 2006

by way of update

Haven't had much time to update lately. But the strike is over and the temporary workers bill is still delayed. So, in some ways, the strike was successful. I'm reprinting a brief summary below. Kotaji, sharp as always, has also provided an updated post on the strike.

Korean Temp Worker Bills Blocked for Now

A general strike last week by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and a pro-labour panel of lawmakers working inside a plenary session of South Korea’s National Assembly blocked three bills regarding non-regular workers from reaching final approval.

The strikes, in which tens of thousands of workers took part, occurred on Tuesday and Thursday, 28 February and 2 March. (1 March was an official Korean holiday.) The lawmakers, primarily from the progressive Democratic Labor Party, took over a parliamentary session on 2 March to temporarily derail passage. The bills were approved by the Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee on 27 February, but action in the streets and inside the plenary session prevented final approval prior to the Assembly closing its session on 2 March.

The issue is certain to meet further review and more public protests when the Assembly reconvenes on 20 March in an extraordinary session. The proposed legislation would do little to improve conditions for temporary and agency workers, but instead would give employers’ the flexibility to use hundreds of thousands more non-permanent workers and laying them off prior to the end of a proposed two-year period after which they must be made permanent.

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