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Ratification of Three Fundamental ILO Conventions Marked in Virtual Ceremony with ILO
1. The Korean government held a virtual ceremony of depositing the Instruments of Ratification of Fundamental ILO Conventions with the International Labour Organization (ILO) on April 20, 2021 (Tue.).
° At the ceremony which was attended by ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-Kap, the Korean government’s consent to be bound by fundamental ILO Conventions was officially relayed to the ILO through the deposit of the instruments of ratification.
° The years of the ratification process including social dialogue, the amendment of the Trade Union and Labour Relation Adjustment Act (TULRAA), and the approval of the ratification by the National Assembly, have come to an end, and the Conventions will enter into force one year after the date of the deposit (April 20, 2022).
2. Korea ratified and deposited the instruments of the Forced Labour Convention (No.29), the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention (No.87), and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98), which brings the number of fundamental Conventions Korea has ratified to 7 from 4 and the total number of its ratified Conventions to 30 from 27.
° The Forced Labour Convention (No.29) prohibits the use of forced labor in all forms.
° The Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention (No.87) stipulates basic principles on the freedom of association such as the right of workers and employers to voluntarily establish and join organizations of their own choice, and to ensure their free operation.
° The Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention (No.98) includes measures to protect workers exercising their right to organize and to encourage autonomous collective bargaining.
3. The government, which aims to realize a labor-respecting society as a core value of the national agenda, has actively engaged in efforts to ratify fundamental ILO Conventions.
° After going through processes of multi-dimensional engagement and coordination including social dialogue through the Economic, Social and Labour Council (ESLC), the amendment bills of the Trade Union and Labour Relation Adjustment Act (TULRAA), the Act on the Establishment, Operation, Etc. of Trade Unions for Teachers (AEOTUT) and the Act on the Establishment, Operation, Etc. of Public Officials’ Trade Union (AEOPOT) passed the National Assembly last December.
° Accordingly, the ratification motion bills for three fundamental ILO Conventions (No. 29, 87, and 98) passed the National Assembly this February.
4. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder “welcomed the ratification of the three fundamental ILO instruments.” “It demonstrates the conviction of the Korean people that the continuous and concerted action of the government and representatives of employers and workers is essential to the achievement of social justice and democracy as well as the promotion of universal and lasting peace,” said Ryder.
° Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-Kap stated that “I am sincerely delighted and find it meaningful that the three fundamental ILO Conventions have finally been ratified.” “The government will make continued efforts with the labor and management to fully guarantee the fundamental labor rights and to establish sound labor-management relations based on autonomy and responsibility,” said Lee. “Although the global community is facing challenges due to COVID-19, we will strive to achieve a human-centered recovery through a range of policies such as the Korean New Deal Initiative and social dialogue,” Lee added.
5. This ratification is expected to bring about positive external effects such as promoting the national status and credit ratings, and further contribute to mitigating trade-related risks by reducing grounds for dispute with regard to the FTAs containing labor provisions including the Korea-EU FTA.
° Meanwhile, it is also expected to further protect the freedom of association pursuant to the amended TURLAA which reflects the purposes of fundamental Conventions, and strengthen the autonomy of labor-management relations at the industrial sites.
6. To ensure faithful implementation of the Conventions, the government plans to actively support social dialogue and the settlement of the amended TURLAA taking effect this July, and to bolster cooperation with the ILO.