52-hour workweek change may pit firms against unions

1 month ago Korea JoongAng Daily

"Some say such a change could boost the number of unions, especially in the IT industry.“If the law gets adjusted and side effects arise, there is a possibility that IT labor unions will expand again,” said Oh Se-yoon, head of Naver’s union.Theoretically, some people may end up working up to 69 hours a week if working hours are tabulated by the month, but the advisory group says this isn't likely.“If the hours are counted on a yearly basis, there is a risk that employees may be exposed to overwork,” a spokesperson for the Future Labor Research Council said.“To prevent such cases, total hours of work will be reduced. For instance, if working hours are counted by quarters, a total of 156 hours will be allowed for extended work. Of the 156 hours, employees will have to work for only 90 percent or 140 hours.”The council also recommended increasing the retirement age to above 60 years old, scrapping the current salary system based on seniority to a system based on performance.This advice dovetails with the rapid aging of the Korean workforce. "Working over 60 hours a week may be considered an industrial accident due to overwork and applied in the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act. "BY KIM KI-CHAN, YU SUNG-KUK [[email protected]]
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Seoul returns to criticizing Pyongyang at the UN

Seoul returns to criticizing Pyongyang at the UNSeoul has returned to co-sponsoring the annual UN resolution condemning North Korean human rights violations, according to the Foreign Ministry.“Finally, a resolution on human rights in North Korea was proposed by the European Union at the Third Committee meeting of 77th session of the UN General Assembly held yesterday in New York,” Lim Soo-suk, the ministry’s spokesperson and deputy minister for public affairs, told the press on Tuesday.“The Korean government actively participated in the discussions around the text of the North Korean human rights resolution and participated as a co-sponsor of the resolution.”The Human Rights Council at the UN has annually adopted a resolution condemning Pyongyang’s human rights violation since 2003.Seoul was a co-sponsor of the resolution from 2008 to 2018, but stopped in 2019 as the liberal Moon Jae-in administration tried to engage Pyongyang and not anger it.The resolution, drafted by the European Union, has been proposed at the UN and is scheduled to be passed during the General Assembly session in December.“We continue to reject unfair attempts to politicize the human rights [situations]on the UN stage and abuse them as political tools for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries,” said the North Korean representative during the Third Committee meeting of the UN General Assembly on Monday.The text of the resolution this year is expected to be similar to previous resolutions, according to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.“It is still a draft, so there could be adjustments made until its expected adoption in December,” a ministry official told the Korea JoongAng Daily on Monday. “We are working closely with the members of the UN on the text.”The resolution put forward last year by a number of European Union member statescondemned “in the strongest terms the long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights in and by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," referring to North Korea by its full name.The resolution addressed “gross” human rights violations in the North including torture and other inhuman punishments, the existence of political prison camps, all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, abductions of North Koreans and people from other countries, severe restrictions on freedom of thought of North Koreans in online and offline spaces, as well as exploitation of workers sent abroad.“The government's position is that the North Korean human rights issue is a universal human rights issue that requires a consistent response based on principles,” Lim said.BY ESTHER CHUNG [[email protected]]

3 months ago Korea JoongAng Daily
Korean Air Lines wallops expectations as pax numbers jump

Korean Air Lines wallops expectations as pax numbers jumpKorean Air Lines beat expectations in the third quarter with a net profit of 431.4 billion won ($302.6 million), jumping 222 percent on year due to a strong recovery in passenger traffic.The figure beat analyst expectations of a 232-billion-won net profit compiled on FnGuide.The carrier reported revenue of 3.67 trillion won, up 65 percent on year. The figure slightly beat analyst expectations of a 3.66-trillion-won revenue.Sales from passenger flights in the third quarter jumped 338 percent on year to 1.45 trillion won as various countries ease travel restrictions and travelers increase.Korea Air Lines says prospects for its passenger flight business is very positive, with travel demand expected to continue rising, especially ahead of end-of-year holidays. There has been more travelers coming from the United States due to the weak won and more travelers to and from Japan due to the country resuming visa-free travel.The carrier will up frequencies to meet demand, also scheduling non-regular flights if necessary.Sales from its cargo business rose 12 percent on year to 1.86 trillion won.The carrier says growth wasn’t as fast as in previous quarters because of rising fuel costs and fewer overseas flight purchases due to inflation. Competition has also been high in the cargo transport business due to more planes flying as travel demand rises.The carrier expects cargo transport demand to fall in the fourth quarter, but said it will try to sign contracts to deliver goods for the upcoming busy shopping seasons, such as Black Friday and the Christmas holidays.BY LEE TAE-HEE [[email protected]]

3 months ago Korea JoongAng Daily
Seventy percent of university seniors have already given up on job hunt

Seventy percent of university seniors have already given up on job huntNearly 70 percent of university seniors graduating in March have given up on finding jobs, according to a survey by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI).As more and more companies are hiring experienced workers over new recruits, job opportunities for those fresh out of university are becoming scarce.“Where can newbies build up their experience if companies only hire experienced applicants?” a 26 year-old job seeker, who had been turning in job applicants for the past two years, asked the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily. “The recent job openings from companies only look for experienced workers and furthermore it’s hard to predict when the job openings are announced or how many they plan to recruit.”In the past, major companies including Samsung, Hyundai Motor and SK would announce their recruitment plans in accordance to the spring or summer graduation period.The hiring plans included the number of people that each department or business affiliates would be taking on.Today, hiring notifications have become less systematic and more sporadic.In particular, major conglomerates have changed the way they recruit employees — instead of hiring as an entire group, each department or affiliate makes its own job notification.The only company among the top five conglomerates in Korea that still practices the old hiring system is Samsung.A survey by FKI conducted on 2,469 seniors from 4-year universities found that 65.8 percent have “virtually” given up on looking for jobs.Thirty-one-point-eight percent said they still submit their applications just for the sake of it as, 26.7 percent said they hardly look for jobs and 7.3 percent said they had taken a break from looking for employment.Only 16 percent responded that they were actively looking for jobs.Nearly half said they aren’t actively engaged in job seeking largely because of a lack of skills, competence and knowledge while 38.8 percent cited lack of job opportunities.“The trend of major companies adopting a year-round recruitment has played a role in the gloomy job prospects,” said a university career support center official in Seoul.In the survey, 30 percent said the job market for new recruits is worse this year compared to last year. Only 5.3 percent said the situation is better.Sixty-six-point-three percent said they expect it to take a minimum of six months to land a job while 36.4 percent expect it to take at least a year.More than 28 percent said companies' preference in hiring experienced workers was the biggest difficulty, while 26 percent cited a lack of good jobs where the working conditions meet their expectations.Twenty-percent said they are finding it difficult to secure opportunities that would help them build their experience, including internships.Some 14 percent said that rising inflation, which is increasing the burden on their job preparation including tuition, is a major problem.Large companies like Samsung are preferred among job seekers, with 20.4 percent of respondents citing that's where they'd like to land a job, followed by slightly smaller companies that are larger than SMEs, at 19 percent.State-owned companies took third place with 17.8 percent while positions as government employees was 16.2 percent.Only 11.9 percent preferred SMEs and 7 percent startups.Last year, the No.1 job that young university graduates wanted to land were at state-owned companies.The FKI put the change down to young people wanting better compensation and more fairness for the work that they do over the job security provided by public jobs.“As companies are preferring to hire experienced workers due to the rapidly changing business environment, the extension of in-between period for universities graduates is inevitable,” said Choo Kwang-ho, the FKI's economic research division head.“Jobs in the private sector should be created by improving the hiring conditions including easing regulations and improving labor market duality [which is the inequalities stemming from the size of the businesses and job positions].”BY KO SUK-HYUN, LEE HEE-KWON [[email protected]]

3 months ago Korea JoongAng Daily
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