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S. Korea ratifies key UN labor conventions

National Assembly (Yonhap)
National Assembly (Yonhap)
South Korea's parliament on Friday ratified key International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions on workers' rights and forced labor, which have long stalled due to objections from businesses and conservative politicians.

The nation joined the United Nations agency in 1991 but had not adopted four of its eight key conventions, lagging behind international standards in protecting labor rights.

The National Assembly passed motions to ratify three of them -- No. 29 on forced labor, No. 87 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organize and No. 98 on the right to organize and collective bargaining.

The government submitted the bills last July, while setting aside the Convention No. 105 on abolition of forced labor, deemed to clash with domestic laws on labor in prison.

In 2019, the government sent the same bills to the National Assembly, but they were scrapped amid objections from the conservative opposition party and businesses that worried the passage would further enhance labor unions' power.

The ratification was one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign pledges during the 2017 election.

In 2018, the European Union called for ratification, saying that Seoul's failure to approve them may be a breach of the bilateral free trade agreement between the two sides. (Yonhap)
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