Opposition to pass trade union amendment bill despite gov’t resistance

2023.11.10 15:15:20 | 2023.11.10 18:34:02

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]

South Korea’s opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), which had lost its lead to the current ruling party, is stirring up controversy across the country after regaining control of 168 seats in the National Assembly.

The DPK and other opposition parties passed an amendment to Articles 2 and 3 of the Trade Union Act, as well as the amendments to three broadcasting acts?the Broadcasting Act, the Foundation for Broadcast Culture Act, and Korea Educational Broadcasting System Act?in the National Assembly’s plenary session on Thursday. Lawmakers from the ruling People Power Party (PPP) boycotted the vote to protest the unilateral process. The trade union bill passed with 174 members voting, with 173 in favor and one abstention.

The trade union law amendment was first proposed in 2015 by the DPK’s predecessor, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, but was never acted upon during the previous Moon Jae-in administration.

Analysts note that the DPK’s push for the amendment, despite the obvious likelihood of a veto by President Yoon Suk Yeol, is as an attempt to rally its traditional supporters, including trade unions. The PPP, in opposition to the bill, originally planned a filibuster which was cancelled at the last minute. A filibuster would have allowed the Democrats to bring up the bill, as well as an impeachment motion against Korea Communications Commission Chairman Lee Dong-kwan on Friday afternoon as the plenary sessions continue.

The DPK brought the impeachment bill against Lee to the National Assembly plenary session earlier, with the PPP immediately holding a rally to condemn it for abusing the impeachment process. “I cannot help but wonder if the DPK is trying to impeach me because cracking down on fake news will interfere with their election campaigns,” Lee said.

By Seo Dong-cheol, Wee Ji-hae, Shin Yoo-geoung, and Choi Jieun

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