Mar. 8, 2019
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), complying with the most fundamental labor rights - i.e. ratifying the ILO core conventions -, along with lifelong vocational skills development, is a key strategy to respond to changes brought on by the fourth industrial revolution and prepare for the future of work.
The Economic, Social and Labor Council (ESLC) and the ILO jointly held the Tripartite Forum on the ILO's Future of Work Report at the Korea Press Center on March 7th.
Mr. Lee Sang-heon, Director of the ILO’s Employment Policy Department emphasized during his presentation at the Forum, “Korea needs to strengthen the guarantee of fundamental labor rights by ratifying the ILO core conventions concerning freedom of association and the right to organize.”
Director Mr. Lee Sang-heon also said that guaranteeing fundamental labor rights by ensuring an adequate living wage, limiting the maximum working hours and enhancing occupational safety and health, which are highlighted in the Future of Work Report, is also in line with the Korean government’s employment and labor policy including raising the minimum wage, reducing working hours and closing loopholes in the employment safety net.
The Forum was organized to provide an opportunity for national tripartite constituents, experts and ILO officials to discuss together the Future of Work Report, which was published by the ILO to mark the 100th anniversary of its establishment this year. The purpose of the Forum also included exploring the future direction of Korea’s employment and labor policies.
It was attended by more than 150 people including Mr. Moon Sung-hyun, Chairperson of the Economic, Social and Labor Council, Mr. Lee Sang-heon, Director of the ILO's Employment Policy Department, Mr. Cheon Byung-you, Chairperson of the ESLC's Committee on Digital Transformation and the Future of Work and Ms. Chung Chin-sung, Emeritus Professor at Seoul National University.
Ms. Chung, who has participated along with the world's leading scholars in the Global Commission on the Future of Work, which was created by the ILO in 2017 to prepare the Future of Work report, gave a keynote presentation at the Forum.
She said that the Report was the result of in-depth discussions among the world's eminent scholars and highlighted support for individuals' skills development through lifelong learning and stronger social protection, guarantee of universal labor rights and expansion of decent and sustainable work as policies for delivering social justice.
Minister of Employment and Labor Mr. Lee Jae-kap, who gave congratulatory remarks, stressed that the content of the ILO’s Future of Work Report was consistent with Korea’s policy aim which was to create an innovative and inclusive country where all people prosper together.
Minister Lee said, “The Korean government will focus its employment and labor policy capacity on creating an inclusive labor market and human-centered jobs and continue its efforts to improve the quality of jobs by reducing working hours and improving the minimum wage-fixing system.”
With regard to ratification of the ILO core conventions, he also said, “Now that Korea has achieved economic growth, it is time to keep the promise it had made to the international community about ratification of the ILO core conventions.” He added, “The government will do its utmost to help reach social consensus in order to ratify the ILO core conventions.”
Many ILO member states are carrying out tripartite discussions on the Report in response to the request of the ILO Director-General. Based on these discussions, the ILO is expected to adopt a commemorative declaration that defines the visions and activities it will pursue over the next 100 years at its centenary conference to be held in June 2019 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its establishment.