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Labor group calls for ratification of four ILO core conventions

National 12:08 May 23, 2019

SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- A major labor umbrella group called on the government Thursday to ratify all of the four key International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions as the government seeks to approve only three of them.

South Korea joined the United Nations agency on labor in 1991 but hasn't ratified four out of the eight core conventions -- labor standards No. 87 and No. 98 on freedom of association and No. 29 and No. 105 on abolition of forced labor.

The call came one day after the government unveiled a plan to seek parliamentary ratification of three of the four conventions.

The government said it will exclude convention No. 105, saying that more consideration is necessary as the issue is linked to the overhaul of the country's penal system and it could be problematic amid inter-Korean division.

The country's national security law, which bans South Koreans from engaging in activities benefiting North Korea, is widely viewed as violating this convention.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) denounced the government's decision, calling for ratification of all of the four conventions.

"Even if it is not the case of the convention No. 105, the Korean government has already been advised to abolish the national security law during U.N. reviews on South Korea's implementation of international conventions on civil and political rights," the labor group said.

It also condemned the government's plan to seek the ratification and the revision of relevant labor law simultaneously.

"After the ratification of the core conventions, (parliament) could revise the law with the help of the ILO for a year until it takes effect," the KCTU said.

Officials from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, a major South Korean labor umbrella group, hold a press conference in Seoul on May 23, 2019, over the government's plan to submit a motion to seek parliamentary ratification of three out of four key International Labor Organization conventions. (Yonhap)


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