News Release - January 13, 1997
ROMANOW COMMENTS ON SOUTH KOREA LABOUR LAW CONTROVERSY
Premier Roy Romanow said today that the recent controversy in South
Korea over labour law reform underlines the need for a democratic,
Romanow joined in discussion with Korean government legislators today,
during which the matter was raised.
"The only labour law that stands the test of time is law that enjoys a
strong measure of popular support -- as close as possible to a
consensus -- among all affected parties," Romanow said.
"According to press reports, in the past few days the Korean government
has moved to review its recent labour law changes. Government
legislators told us as much today.
"This country made remarkable progress toward democracy before this
event. I hope the controversy will be resolved in a way that
demonstrates Korea's continued commitment to fundamental democratic
principles. Again, government legislators assured us it would be.
"As well, Korea has international obligations with respect to the
rights of labour, being a member of the International Labour
Organization (ILO) and the OECD.
"One thing that seems very clear is that there is no lasting consensus
on labour law reform to be found in violent street confrontations in
Daily demonstrations have been taking place in Seoul during a visit by
Team Canada. Some have resulted in clashes between demonstrators and
police. The controversy concerns a package of labour law reforms
adopted by the Korean National Assembly during a brief sitting on Dec.
According to the Korea Herald, last week the two main Korean opposition
parties filed a petition with Korea's Constitutional Court for a
verdict to nullify the new labour legislation. They allege the predawn
meeting of the Korean National Assembly held to adopt the laws took
place without notifying opposition members. The Herald reported that
the government denied the charge.
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