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S. Korean workers to stage big rallies nationwide

All News 14:26 April 30, 2016

SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- Tens of thousands of unionized workers will hold rallies across the country to criticize the government's labor reform plans that they say will make firing people easier, the nation's two largest umbrella unions said Saturday.

On Sunday, 50,000 members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) will stage protests in 15 cities to urge the government to nullify the agreement made in September between management and labor representatives.

The trilateral deal allows companies to dismiss workers who are negligent or underperforming and has been pending approval by the National Assembly's Environment and Labor Committee. Once the standing committee endorses the bill, it will undergo a parliamentary vote at the next plenary session.

KCTU says the deal provides a license for management to fire workers on a whim and retaliate against union activities.

Another umbrella union, the Federation of Korea Trade Unions (FKTU), said 30,000 of its members will hold demonstrations at Seoul Plaza on Sunday afternoon. The workers will march across downtown Seoul after the rally. South Korean workers mark Labor Day on May 1.

Protesters will also demand raising the minimum wage to 10,000 won (US$8.73) from the current 6,030 won and creating jobs that require a 35-hour work week.

The rallies will likely paralyze traffic in Seoul and other major cities, authorities said, adding they will station nearly 1,000 officers across the country to manage traffic congestion.

Authorities advise residents to note protest venues in advance and use public transportation to avoid traffic.


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