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Long-outlawed labor union of civil servants wins gov't recognition

All Headlines 10:43 March 29, 2018

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- The labor ministry officially recognized a long-outlawed labor union of civil servants across the nation as a legitimate organization on Thursday for the first time since its foundation nine years ago.

The Korean Government Employees' Union (KGEU) was established in 2009, but the government has refused to recognize it as a legitimate organization because its charter allowed laid-off government employees to win membership in violation of the law.

The government has demanded the union revise the charter, but the union has refused.

Over the past weekend, however, the union held a regular meeting of delegates and voted to revise the charter with 77.1 percent support. The union then filed again for government recognition earlier this week in its sixth attempt to do so.

The labor ministry reviewed the application and officially approved the union's establishment Thursday.

"Now that the KGEU put an end to the nine-year row with the government ... I hope it will play the role of a healthy critic and help lead reforms and create mutually beneficial labor-management relations in the public sector," Labor Minister Kim Young-joo said.

Under the law, mid and low-level government employees can form a labor union.

The KGEU, which claims a membership of 90,000, is one of the major unions of civil servants along with Confederation of Korean Government Employees' Unions, which boasts a membership of 100,000.

The KGEU is affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the more militant of South Korea's two umbrella labor organizations.

This file photo shows members of the Korean Government Employees' Union holding a rally. (Yonhap)

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