KCTU attacks economic policies, pension reform

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KCTU attacks economic policies, pension reform

An umbrella labor union declared that it will carry out a general strike on April 26 unless the Park Geun-hye government discards what it defined as policies friendly to corporations.

During a conference hosted by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) on Wednesday at the Press Center in central Seoul, Han Sang-gyun, who heads the KCTU, called for President Park to meet with him one-on-one before the end of March to provide answers to those demands.

Unless the president responds to the union’s calls, he said, the group will wage a general strike on April 26 and organize small-scale strikes by issue and region until the end of April. “The government must bring an end to its chaebol-friendly policies and attempts to restructure the labor market,” Han said at the conference, attended by 100 officials from about 60 civic groups.

The group claimed that the government’s plan to extend the period of time companies may keep irregular workers - to four years from the current two - will only lead to an increase in the number of irregular workers and be a detriment to working conditions.

The union also demanded the government withdraw its plan to scale back benefits for the debt-stricken pension plan for government workers.

According to a study by the ruling Saenuri Party, the pension system is projected to require 5 trillion won ($4.55 billion) in government subsidies over the next 10 years to be sustained as it is. “Cutting down pension benefits for government workers while claiming that they are looking out for their best interests will jeopardize the livelihoods of 5 million government workers and their families,” Han said.

The union also called on the government to raise working minimum wage to 10,000 won an hour from the current 5,580 won.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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