SEOUL, Labor Minister Lee Jae-kap on Monday expressed negative views about the labor sector's demand that the government submit a motion to seek parliamentary approval of key International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions before a revision to the labor law.
South Korea is under pressure from the European Union (EU) to ratify four key ILO conventions on the grounds that Seoul has not made enough efforts to approve the ILO provisions as agreed in their free trade agreement (FTA) implemented in 2011.
South Korea joined the United Nations agency on labor in 1991 but hasn't ratified four key conventions, including abolition of forced labor, freedom of association, protection of the right to organize and the right to collective bargaining.
The labor circle demands that the government submit a motion to seek parliamentary ratification and that the assembly later amends the law. But the government has rejected the demand, citing far-reaching impacts on society if approved.
"The ILO key convention is a very significant agreement that would have a big impact on society and industry (if it is approved)," Lee told a press conference.
"I think it would be difficult to expect the legislative procedure under which the parliamentary first approves a motion to seek the ratification."
The ratification of the key labor conventions is one of top priorities set by liberal President Moon Jae-in.
In April, a blue-ribbon panel on labor relations unveiled its proposal to improve labor practices for the ratification based on opinions from the labor and business sectors.
But the business industry opposes the proposal, saying that it did not fully include companies' demand to draw up tools to protect their managerial rights.
The panel plans to hold its meeting until May 20 to explore ways to find common ground, Lee added.
Source: Yonhap news Agency