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Cabinet OKs gov't motion to seek ratification of key ILO conventions

National 10:01 July 07, 2020

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a government proposal to seek parliamentary ratification of key International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions as part of ongoing efforts to improve workers' rights here.

South Korea joined the ILO in 1991, but has yet to ratify four of the eight core conventions aimed at protecting workers' basic rights.

The conventions approved in Tuesday's meeting are three of those -- No. 87 on freedom of association, No. 98 on the right to organize and collective bargaining and No. 29 on the prohibition of forced labor.

The government explained that convention No. 105 on abolition of forced labor was excluded as it clashes with local law and requires legal revision as well as a social dialogue on adopting it.

The government plans to submit the proposal to parliament this month.

A composite image showing the International Labor Organization's logo against the South Korean parliament. (Yonhap)

The liberal Moon Jae-in administration has been pushing for the approval of key ILO conventions at the National Assembly amid growing pressure from the European Union that could potentially lead to trade issues.

In December 2018, the EU urged the country to start consultations on labor issues under a dispute settlement mechanism in the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter in the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) implemented in 2011.

But the initiative has faced strong opposition from the main opposition party as well as business lobby groups who claimed that the ratification could unfairly strengthen workers in labor talks.

A submission of the bills last year was automatically scrapped with the end of the 20th parliament. This marks a new administrative procedure to submit the bills to the new parliament, where the ruling Democratic Party holds 176 of 300 seats.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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