New party chair reaches out to labor

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New party chair reaches out to labor

Grand National Chairman Hong Joon-pyo yesterday visited an umbrella labor union as well as one of the country’s largest and most powerful progressive civic groups in an effort to engage the working class.

Hong, who won the GNP chairmanship race on July 4, began his first activity outside among the people as the party’s new leader yesterday. He attended a discussion session at the Kwanhun Club, the oldest journalists’ group in the country, in the morning and visited the Federation of Korean Trade Union and the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy in the afternoon.

“I am probably the first GNP chairman to visit the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy,” Hong was quoted as saying during his visit by the GNP deputy spokesman Hwang Cheon-mo. Hong said he had reviewed the Solidarity’s proposals as the leader of the GNP’s special committee on the working-class friendly policies last year. He also said the Solidarity’s call for a tuition cut is also being reflected in the GNP’s program.

Lim Jong-dae, co-head of Solidarity, welcomed Hong’s attempt to engage the liberal civic group. “Although political parties and civic groups confront each other, I would like to see more and wider opportunities of communication,” he said.

Before visiting the Solidarity group, Hong visited the Federation of Korean Trade Union in an apparent attempt to restore the relationship between the GNP and labor.

At a closed-door discussion to address the pending labor issues, the federation requested the GNP’s support to revise labor laws to force companies to pay full-time union members and to allow multiple unions, Hwang said.

Hong replied that the union should wait and see how the implementation of the revised labor union law, which took effect on July 1, takes root adding that it is premature to change the law again so soon. Hong said he is willing to discuss the issue after some time, if problems persist.

At the Kwanhun Club, Hong addressed a variety of issues. “If the GNP reinforces welfare and working-class policies, I believe Park Geun-hye’s dominance [in the next year’s presidential election] will be similar to that of President Lee in the 2007 election,” he said.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@Joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

홍준표, 외부활동 시동…참여연대 첫 방문

한나라당 홍준표 대표는 14일 중견언론인 모임인 관훈클럽 초청 토론회에 참석하고 한국노총을 방문하는 등 대표 당선 이후 당외(黨外) 행보를 본격적으로 시작했다.

특히 한나라당 대표로는 처음으로 진보적 시민단체인 참여연대를 전격 방문해 당의 외연 확대 기대감을 높였다.

홍 대표는 이날 오전 중구 프레스센터에서 열리는 관훈클럽 초청 토론회에 참석, 7ㆍ4 전당대회 과정에서 공약한 친서민 정책으로의 기조 전환을 비롯해 당정관계, 자신의 정치적 `역할론` 등에 대해 적극적으로 입장을 개진했다.

오후에는 여의도의 한국노총 본부를 찾아 노동계와의 관계 개선에 나섰다.

한나라당은 타임오프제와 복수노조 실시와 관련해 한노총과 껄끄러운 관계가 계속되고 있다는 점에서 홍 대표의 이번 방문은 한노총과의 관계를 개선하려는 의미가 담긴 것으로 해석된다.

이용득 한노총 위원장은 간담회에서 "복지는 노동자ㆍ서민과 대화하면 제대로 된 방안이 나올텐데 정치권에서 여야가 복지경쟁을 벌이다 보면 복지라는 말만 남고 알맹이가 없게 된다"고 지적했고, 홍 대표는 이에 "부자에게 자유를 서민에게 기회를 주는 것이 복지의 기본"이라고 답했다.

홍 대표는 이어 종로구 통인동 소재 참여연대를 방문해 이 시민단체의 임종대 대표와 환담을 나눴다.

홍 대표는 "보수와 진보의 접점은 서민정책에서 찾아야 한다"면서 "서민정책에서 출발해 남북문제, 정치 문제도 (차차) 해 나가는 것이 옳다"고 말했다.

참여연대는 이어진 비공개 간담회에서 ▲전세대란 대책 ▲가계부채 해법 ▲대학등록금 부담 완화 대책 등에 대한 견해를 홍 대표에게 제시한 것으로 알려졌다.

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