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(LEAD) Moon urges efforts to root out job irregularities at public firms

All Headlines 17:09 December 11, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional details, more information in paras 9-10; RECASTS 8th para to change the number of corruption scandal cases to be investigated to 23 from 44 as previous sent)

SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in called for swift measures Monday to reduce working hours and eradicate job-related corruption at public firms.

"Revising the Labor Standards Act to cut working hours is a task we can no longer afford to delay," the president said while meeting with his top presidential aides in a weekly meeting at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

"As both ruling and opposition parties share the common objective of (improving) the economy and people's livelihoods, I ask them to make responsible decisions to realize the goal at the extraordinary session of the parliament and meet the people's expectations," Moon added, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

Reducing average working hours is part of Moon's new income-led growth strategy that also includes boosting the minimum wage to 10,000 won (US$9.16) per hour before his five-year term ends in 2022 from the current 6,470 won per hour. The minimum wage is already set to jump 16.4 percent to 7,485 won at the start of next year.

President Moon Jae-in (R) speaks in a weekly meeting with his top aides at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Dec. 11, 2017. (Yonhap)

"Also, I wish the parliament will quickly pass other welfare-related bills to make sure the benefits of recent economic improvements will reach ordinary citizens, small shop owners and small and medium-sized enterprises," the president said.

The president also called for stepped-up efforts to eradicate what he called deep-rooted and pervasive job-related corruption at public firms.

"As suspected, job-related corruption at public organizations was not exceptional, nor was it limited to only certain organizations," he said, citing an interim report on a government inspection released Friday that listed over 180 suspected cases of employment irregularities.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun later said the government planned to file for formal prosecution investigations of 23 cases.

The spokesman said over 2,000 irregularities have been confirmed at 672 public entities, or 61.3 percent of 1,096 public organizations subject to the ongoing government inspection.

"The government plans to complete the special inspections on all subject public organizations before the end of December," he said in a press release.

"We will have to hold those responsible fully accountable for their civil and criminal charges, considering the feeling of anger and loss the report has brought to the people, and take necessary measures against those who got hired through corruptive means," the president said.

He urged a complete overhaul of the employment process to prevent any recurrence of such incidents at public firms, as well as at private companies.

"I ask you to prevent employment-related corruption at public and financial organizations, and also spread the move to private businesses by coming up with fundamental measures to resolve the issue of employment-related corruption that has become a deep-seated part of our society," he added.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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