Slamming the conglomerates for resisting change, the Moon Jae-in administration’s de-facto transition team chief said Sunday that it was the chaebol that must first reflect on themselves to change the society.
“Those that enjoy the most vested interests in our country are the chaebol. … In order to properly reform the society and achieve social harmony, chaebol’s self-reflection must come first,” said Kim Jin-pyo, chairman of the State Affairs Policy Planning Committee, in an interview with Yonhap News.
Kim Jin-pyo (Yonhap)
“Under the notion that smaller government is better, the Republic of Korea has become the republic of chaebol with them holding absolute power,” Kim said.
His comments came a couple of days after Korea’s major employers’ group locked horns with Cheong Wa Dae over President Moon Jae-in’s job creation initiative to turn all non-regular workers to regular workers at public firms.
On Thursday, Korea Employers Federation Vice Chairman Kim Young-bae had strongly criticized Moon’s policy at a forum, saying the government was casting unnecessary shade against the legitimate practice of outsourcing and that the regularization of all jobs would only push more people out of smaller businesses.
The day after, Moon shot back through his spokesman Park Soo-hyun, who said the KEF “seriously misconstrued” Moon’s job policy, as the government does not intend to pressure private enterprises and that the businesses should engage in deep soul-searching on their part.
In the interview, Kim Jin-pyo said that all reform comes with resistance but that it should not overturn the entire move for change.
Kim also noted on the need for labor unions to reform. “Labor unions of public firms, militant trade unions and the so-called labor aristocrats must also make right what is wrong. (We) must also not take away the job opportunity for a son (young generation) to secure that of a father.”
Saying that the past conservative governments highlighted only on reforming the labor, Kim said that from the laborers’ point of view, chaebol has been left off the hook. “It is thus all the more important that chaebol self-reflect.”
Targeting KEF Kim’s remarks that irregular jobs are also necessary, Kim Jin-pyo argued that in order for such argument to work, the irregular workers should be secured the same level of pay and labor as is the case in Germany.
As controversy escalated, the KEF had said on Friday that they were not in fact opposed to Moon’s job policy but that they were highlighting on the rigid labor market structure and the need to resolve wage gaps between big and small enterprises.
Bigger companies here have been recoiling at President Moon’s seemingly aggressive warning against their governance structure and market dominance, such as by naming two liberal economists Kim Sang-jo as the chairman of the Fair Trade Commission, and Jang Ha-seong as the chief of staff for policy. (firstname.lastname@example.org)