Saenuri backs labor sector overhaul

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Saenuri backs labor sector overhaul

Ruling Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung and Rep. Rhee In-je have positioned themselves at the center of President Park Geun-hye’s mission to rein in the labor market, vowing to step up efforts to realize that objective.

During a meeting of party leaders prior to the president’s address, in which she laid out her reform plans, the Saenuri leader stated that rehabilitating the market was the “most urgent task of our time,” with the future of the young generation at stake.

The five-term lawmaker watched Park’s nationally televised conference in his Assembly office following the gathering and noted afterward that he agreed with many of the points the president raised.

“We should implement a peak-wage system,” he said. “What is most urgent now is providing jobs for young people.”

Under the peak-wage system, the salaries of older employees peak a few years before retirement and then gradually decrease as they keep working, allowing companies to save more money and hire entry-level employees.

Kim’s support for Park was also echoed by Rep. Rhee, who heads the Saenuri’s recently launched task force on labor reform. He held talks with company workers in Guro District, Seoul, his first official activity as committee leader, concerning contracts for temporary workers.

Afterward, Rhee met with Kim Dong-man, the president of the Federation of Korea Trade Unions, for lunch to persuade him to return to the negotiating table to find a middle ground on reforms.

Kim’s organization walked out of trilateral negotiations involving business, government and labor representatives in protest of the government’s plan to adopt the peak-wage system and ease labor regulations for layoffs.

Still, after his meeting with Rhee, the umbrella labor union chief said that nothing had been decided on whether his group would return to talks.

BY LEE GA-YOUNG, KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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