This study examines the principal characteristics of Korean labor-management relations and recent changes made to developed countries’ labor-management relations, in order to direct the establishment of practical labor-management relationships and study ways to improve their institution.
In Korea, individual companies have their own labor unions. During the Fifth Republic, a law was enacted to require companies to allow employees to organize a labor union. However, the labor union act is still unfavorable to labor unions: A lack of means to resolve labor disputes, attempts to resolve disputes through strike settlements, the end of strikes forced by management, and overly strict criteria for protection in the existing labor standard act are damaging labor-management relations. Considering the current industrial structure in Korea, companies will be continued to be allowed to have their own labor-management relation act. Therefore, to improve labor-management relations, effort should be made to make companies' interests align to the interests of their employees. In addition, labor-management conflicts caused by restructuring need to be settled through innovations in business operation.
Labor-management relationships in developed countries have evolved through market changes, such as increased employee bargaining power and introduction of policy to stabilize labor-management relations. A suitable example is the U.S., where the employment proportion of production workers and the manufacturing industry have decreased, use of software in industry has increased, the female labor force has increased, and new types of employment have been introduced, such as the part-time job. These employment types and organizational changes naturally brought about the innovation of business operations and positive changes in labor-management relations in businesses with or without a labor union. In particular, a program was introduced to allow a labor union to participate in management, so that employees' requests can be addressed in a timely and fair manner. This program was developed into a mechanism in which the labor union could actively engage in organizational restructuring. However, this approach violates the labor relation act, posing challenges to progress in corporate management.
In order to build reasonable labor-management relations and improve institutions in Korea, labor unions that have grown excessively large should be dealt with by revising corporate law. The revision should not be forceful, as the labor union act is in place for protection. Instead, effective negotiations between labor and management should be used to make progress. Furthermore, laws and institutions that result in rigid corporate management also need revision. Especially, measures and liberalization of the labor environment that enable employees to respond to employment adjustments and labor relationships must be provided. Institutions need to be restructured to enhance fairness of labor dispute settlements, because labor disputes are more likely to occur as industries continue to develop.
합리적 노사관계 정립을 위한 제도개선방안(Ways to improve institutions to establish reasonable labor-management relations)
|Journal Title; Vol./Issue||한국개발연구:제 16권 제 4호|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Social Development < Employment|
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|