GNP lawmakers seek to ban multiple union scheme

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GNP lawmakers seek to ban multiple union scheme

Fifty Grand National Party lawmakers have submitted a bill to abolish a new labor law that allows multiple unions in a single workplace, 20 days ahead of its planned enforcement on July 1.

The move for the revisied bill, submitted on Thursday, was initiated by first-term lawmaker Kim Sung-tae, former senior labor rights activist of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions.

The bill would bar a company from establishing another labor union if it already has an existing union. It is exactly the opposite of the new labor law.

The advantage of the law that goes into effect on July 1, its supporters say, is that multiple unions would diversify the views of workers and prevent a single, hard-line trade union from dominating the workplace.

Kim said labor-management ties at workplaces would become unstable if more than one union is permitted in a workplace. Kim said the new labor law must be revised because it could prompt existing unions to seek an expansion of their influence and widen the rift between existing unions and new unions over labor-management negotiations.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor said it is outraged at the GNP’s move. The ministry said the new law will be enforced as previously agreed upon by the National Assembly in January last year. It cast doubts that the revised bill will be passed by July.

“An attempt to revise a law 20 days before its enforcement is a comedy,” said an official at the ministry. “I have no idea what’s in the heads of GNP lawmakers.”

The ministry has already distributed manuals to companies in regard to enforcement of the new labor union law. “It too late to reverse the plan,” said another labor ministry official.

The Korea Employers Federation is also dissatisfied with the revised bill.

“Politicians are now trying to reverse the law that introduces multiple labor unions in a company, but chances are unlikely that the law will be revised by July,” said an official at the Korea Employers Federation. “If a government policy is changed too frequently, it will add more confusion in businesses.”

In addition to scrapping the multiple unions system, the revised bill calls for abolishing a wage ban on full-time union workers. The so-called “time-off” system that bans wages for full-time union representatives became law last July and some GNP lawmakers are trying to abolish the system.

Korea’s two umbrella labor unions, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions are also against the move.

“The position of two umbrella unions is that multiple labor unions must be introduced and expand the number of bargaining channels during the labor-management discussions from the current one.” FKTU spokesman Choi Sam-tae said. “Banning a company from establishing another labor union if it already has an existing union is nonsense because it means it won’t allow multiple labor unions in a company.”

The new labor law to be enforced in July states that the multiple unions can only negotiate using one bargaining channel, with the largest of the multiple unions having the power to negotiate with management.


By Chang Chung-hoon, Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

시행 20일 앞두고 복수노조 말자는 한나라 초·재선들

김성태 의원 포함 50명 발의

한나라당 내 초·재선 의원 그룹이 오는 7월부터 시행 예정인 복수노조 설립과 관련해 이를 제한하는 노조법(노동조합 및 노동관계조정법) 재개정안을 9일 발의했다. 한나라당과 정부가 합의해 노사관계 선진화 차원에서 시행하려던 복수노조에 반기를 든 셈이다.

한국노총 출신 김성태(사진) 의원이 주도하고, 중도 성향의 의원 50명이 서명한 개정안은 한 기업에 이미 노조가 있을 경우 조직 대상을 같이하는 다른 노조를 설립하지 못하도록 하고 있다. 김 의원은 “복수노조를 과도하게 허용하면 노조 간 선명성 투쟁이 가열돼 교섭비용이 크게 증가할 것”이라며 “산업현장의 평화가 성숙되고 있는 시점에 복수노조 허용은 적절치 않다”고 말했다.

또 개정안엔 지난해 7월부터 시행 중인 타임오프제와 관련해 상급 단체에 파견된 노조 전임자의 임금을 기업이 지급하는 조항이 생겼다.

이번 재개정안 발의는 한나라당이 주도해 2009년 말 개정한 현행 노조법을 정면으로 뒤집는 것이다. 현행 법은 상급단체에서 활동하는 전임자에 대해 소속 기업의 임금 지급을 금지하고 있다. 또 올해 7월부터 한 기업에 제2, 제3의 노조를 설립할 수 있도록 돼 있다.

고용부는 예정대로 복수노조를 7월부터 시행한다는 입장이다. 고용부의 한 관계자는 “정책의 일관성이 흔들리면 노사관계는 물론 산업현장의 혼란만 가중된다”고 말했다.

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