Help for the JoblessThese people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own but because of failed government
policies and corporate mismanagement. The government should do whatever it can to help them make it through the winter. It is especially urgent that measures be taken to prevent unemployment
from becoming a destabilizing force in our economy and society.
Not having foreseen the current situation, the government reduced next year''s budget for labor
affairs to half of what it was this year, or about 600 billion won. Finding ways to increase this
figure should be a priority. Other measures that need to be taken include seeing to it that those
who lost their jobs when their company went under receive their unpaid wages and increasing
the percentage of the jobless who are eligible to collect unemployment benefit.
Nevertheless, this time around we must not revert to the wasteful system of the last recession,
when money was simply doled out to anyone who happened to be on the roster. Each local government must carefully determine which business sectors and who among the unemployed are eligible.
Productive methods for dealing with unemployment must be used. This could include investing in vocational retraining in such fields as information technology and telecommunications, where more manpower is needed. The effectiveness of the internship system used during the last recession should be reviewed for possible revival.
Labor and management need to work together to find ways to survive. Recognizing that the most fundamental solution to the unemployment problem is economic recovery, they should avoid
the kind of extremist fighting that just precipitates more business failures and gets in the way of recovery.
by Joseph W. Chung
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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