Seoul to push for labour reform bill

Seoul, Sep 11 (IANS) South Korea on Friday pledged to push for an independent bill on labour reform after representatives failed to find a middle ground on an issue deemed critical for raising the economy’s competitiveness.

Seoul had given the tripartite committee until Thursday to come up with a compromise, but the three parties were still divided over key issues, Yonhap News Agency reported.

In an emergency press conference held in Sejong, Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said that he was disappointed that no compromise was reached by Thursday’s deadline despite long-drawn talks.

“Under such circumstances, the government cannot wait forever, so it will take charge and push for changes that can create more job opportunities for young people and fuel economic growth,” he said in a statement.

The government will work with the ruling Saenuri Party starting next week to iron out the bill, so it can be passed in parliament within the year, he said.

Choi said the bill will include creating a fair screening system that will make it easier to dismiss under-performing workers, allow companies to change rules of employment and make it possible to introduce the wage peak system.

Existing labour laws make it very difficult to dismiss workers and any changes to the employment rules need to be approved by employees.

As of August, the unemployment rate of young people stood at 8 percent, much higher than the 3.4 percent for the entire country.

He also said the government will take steps to raise unemployment wages and reform the way fixed-term employment workers and temporary agency workers are treated to help resolve inequality and discrimination issues.

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