President Yoon Suk Yeol Vetoes Pro-Labor Legislation and Broadcasting Law Amendments

SEOUL - President Yoon Suk Yeol, on Friday, exercised his veto power against a series of bills, including a pro-labor legislation known as the 'yellow envelope bill' and amendments to broadcasting laws, that were previously passed by opposition parties.

According to Yonhap News Agency, President Yoon vetoed four contentious measures, focusing notably on the 'yellow envelope law'. This law, passed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly last month, aims to limit the ability of companies to seek damages from labor unions for disputes deemed legitimate. The presidential decision followed a Cabinet motion approved earlier in the day, urging the National Assembly to reconsider these bills.

The labor legislation has been a point of contention, drawing criticism from both business groups and the ruling party. Opponents argue that the bill impedes employers from addressing illegal strikes and absolves workers from liabilities in such cases. Han, a spokesperson during the meeting, emphasized that the bill could promote illegal strikes by hindering companies from claiming damages caused by these actions.

The origins of the 'yellow envelope bill' date back to 2009, when SsangYong Motor Co.'s unionized workers held a significant strike against layoffs. This strike, later ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, led to a financial penalty imposed on the workers. In solidarity, activists and citizens donated to the workers using yellow envelopes, each containing 47,000 won, sparking a push to amend the trade union law in favor of striking workers.

Additionally, President Yoon vetoed three bills revising broadcasting laws, which were intended to diminish the government's influence over public broadcasters. Concerns were raised by Han about these revisions potentially compromising the impartiality of public broadcasting.

This is not the first instance of President Yoon rejecting opposition-led bills. He previously dismissed a nursing act defining nurses' roles and responsibilities and a revision to the Grain Management Act concerning government rice purchases.

In response to the vetoes, the country's major labor unions expressed strong dissent. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions criticized the Yoon government for favoring conglomerates, while the Federation of Korean Trade Unions lamented the government's role in blocking the labor bill's passage, which had been achieved through significant worker sacrifice.

scroll to top