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Gov't warns of punishment against labor union over general strike

All News 18:06 January 24, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- Justice Minister Kim Hyun-woong warned Sunday that the government will not tolerate a planned general strike by a major umbrella labor union.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), which has more than half a million workers as members, announced a plan to stage an indefinite general strike starting Monday in protest of the Park Geun-hye administration's labor reform drive.

Kim said the collective action will be illicit.

"It would be an illegal strike if (the group) goes on a general strike to oppose the government's policy without abiding by (relevant) procedures," he said.

The KCTU will have to be responsible for damages to the people and the country, he added.

Kim cited illegal rallies organized by the KCTU in November last year that became violent.

He urged labor circles to refrain from taking illegitimate collective action amid concerns about security conditions in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test and reports that South Korea is a potential target for terrorist attacks.

On Friday, the government issued controversial labor guidelines to make the nation's labor market more flexible. It would become easier for companies to fire underperforming workers.

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