Labor Relations

Realizing a Society Where Labor Is Respected

  • Reached the Tripartite Agreement to Overcome the COVID-19 Crisis and further build upon the agreement

    The unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the difficulties faced by businesses and threatening jobs, which prompted the tripartite members to form a consensus this crisis cannot be addressed by efforts of a single party.

    Under the recognition that solidarity and cooperation is vital, the tripartite members reached the Tripartite Agreement to Overcome the COVID-19 Crisis (on July 28, 2020), after spending more than 40 days having dozens of intense discussions and debates, and further discussions by the Economic, Social and Labor Council (ESLC).

    The main contents of the agreement include the role of the tripartite members to maintain employment; expanding efforts to help businesses and protect industry ecosystem; introducing universal employment insurance and expanding the social safety net for the vulnerable; and enhancing national disease control system and public medical infrastructure.

    Following the announcement of the agreement, a special committee was launched in the ESLC to check the implementation of the agreement. The spirit of cooperation seems to be spreading among tripartite members, as exemplified by voluntary signing of follow-up agreements in different regions‧sectors.

  • Expanded tripartite social dialogue and win-win regional level job creation model

    The government facilitated active cooperation and communication among labor, management, civil society, and the government, so that the culture of labor-management win-win cooperation would further spread, that labor-management relations would be stabilized, and that more jobs would be created at the regional level.

    * In 2020, 1556 million won was provided in government subsidies to 65 local governments for the operation of the local labor-management-civil society-government council, and 55 regions announced win-win measures to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and to maintain employment as of August 14, 2020

    In particular, through win-win local job creation consulting services*, the government supported development of regional level job creation models that is tailored to regional traits and circumstances, and signed an win-win agreement with five cities and counties—Gwangju, Miryang, Gumi, Hoengseong, Gunsan.

    * <2017> 300 million won (4 offices), <2018> 800 million won (8 offices), <2019> 1.6 billion won (9 offices), <2020> 1.6 billion won (8 offices)

  • Improved law and systems in order to ratify ILO fundamental conventions

    The government made an announcement (on May 22, 2019) on its positions regarding the developments for the ratification and legal revisions for three* of the four ILO fundamental conventions which Korea has yet to ratify.

    * Forced Labour Convention (No. 29), Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention (No. 87), Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98)

    The government’s legislative bills were awaiting to be discussed at the Standing Committee of the 20th National Assembly, but were automatically discarded as the its term ended on May 29, 2020.

    The government, in recognition that ratification of ILO fundamental conventions is an urgent and crucial matter both for national prestige and national interest, submitted amendments to TULRAA (on June 30, 2020) and ratification motions for the fundamental conventions (on July 14, 2020) to the 21st National Assembly immediately after it opened, and plans to do utmost so that they would pass the National Assembly.

  • Systematic efforts to prevent labor-management conflicts

    he government made efforts to prevent conflict and dispute between labor and management, and also supported labor-management bargaining when conflict arises.

    Through policy consultations and other active communication with labor and management organizations on important labor issues, the government was able to prevent unnecessary conflict and promote the spirit of cooperation between labor and management.

    As a result, the number of lost work days due to labor-management conflict was reduced by 36% y-o-y* and recorded the lowest figure in 20 consecutive years.

    *The number of lost work days was 296,000 in 2019, whereas it was 479,000 in 2018.

  • Strengthening labor and human rights education

    The government established a system for promoting labor education and supported active provision of education to establish a proper awareness of 'labor.'

    * As of 2019, a total of 1,183 labor and human rights education sessions took place (for a total of 70,725 people)

    Expanded the group receiving education to teenagers and small sized establishments, and supported training of professional instructors and development and distribution of educational content.

    * Developed and distributed four education programs, three online and offline educational content

  • Promoting the representation of non-unionized vulnerable workers' interests

    The government worked together with organizations representing non-unionized workers to establish and operate consultative bodies at central and local level to better listen to voices from people on the ground and share ideas in order to better protect the interests of non-unionized workers.

    The consultative bodies selected agenda items that were most relevant to the participating actors and regions, and explored ways to better cooperate.

    In order to invigorate the activities of organizations representing non-unionized vulnerable workers to protect their rights and interests, the government implemented projects supporting non-profit corporations.