President raps union for rejecting talksPresident Lee Myung-bak expressed regret yesterday over a militant labor group’s refusal of dialogue, especially ahead of the G-20 Summit to be held in Seoul next month.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, one of the nation’s largest umbrella labor groups, skipped Lee’s rare meeting with representatives from labor circles, saying that they anticipated no serious dialogue to take place.
The progressive association has been protesting the Lee administration’s labor policy and announced a plan to hold a series of street rallies in the coming weeks against the G-20 forum and what it claims is the government’s oppression of labor movements.
“I wish the KCTU had participated [in today’s meeting],” Lee said at the beginning of the luncheon meeting intended to drum up support for the government’s efforts to expand employment and the successful hosting of the Nov. 11-12 G-20 Summit.
“When even South and North Korea have dialogue with each other, it is not desirable for the KCTU of South Korea to refuse dialogue,” Lee said. He added that consultations on state affairs are necessary despite differences over other issues.
On the other hand, he said he appreciated the role of another major labor group, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, in creating jobs.
The KCTU said it decided not to join the meeting with Lee as it found no reason to do so at a time when “the government’s extreme oppression of labor continues and serious dialogue is not expected at the meeting.”
Later Monday, the president met with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary General Angel Gurria to discuss ways to make the Seoul G-20 session a success, according to the Blue House.
In particular, Lee asked for the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s support for Korea’s plan to address the issue of narrowing development gaps among countries and for the Paris-based organization to closely monitor moves by member states towards protectionism, the Blue House said.