|▲ The Public Pension for All(PPA) with the participation of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) and Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) calls for the establishment of a social dialogue body to discuss the benefit hike of the national pension in a press briefing held at Fountain Square in front of the Blue House on August 29.[Jeong Ki-hoon/The Labor Today]|
A special committee to reform the national pension scheme will be formed at the Economic, Social and Labor Council(ESLC) which was recently reorganized as the new national social dialogue body between labor, management and the government in South Korea.
The tripartite member organizations agreed to the necessity of a discussion space for the stakeholders, as there are growing social attentions toward the reform of the national pension scheme and high possibility of conflict lies in the matters such as income replacement rate, contribution rate and benefit receiving age.
Officials from labor, management and the government held the 6th working-level committee for the Tripartite Representatives Meeting on September 20 at the Economic, Social and Labor Council(ESLC) in Jongno District, central Seoul. They agreed to select the establishment of a special committee for the reform of the national pension scheme as an agenda to be dealt with by the upcoming 4th Tripartite Representatives Meeting scheduled before October 12.
The discussion on the establishment of the special committee on the national pension gained a momentum when the business circle as well as the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) had accepted a proposal by the Federation of Korean Trade Unions(FKTU) on September 11 to form 'the National Pension Reform Committee(tentative)' within the Economic, Social and Labor Council.
Initially, an agenda committee of the Economic, Social and Labor Council, called the Social Safety Net Improvement Committee, planned to set up a national pension taskforce team, but taking the political and social impact of the national pension reform into account, two national trade union centers of FKTU and KCTU took a common position to form a special committee, separately from the Social Safety Net Improvement Committee.
Interestingly, the Korean Employers' Federations(KEF) and Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KCCI) representing the business circle had also agreed to the discussion on the reform of the national pension scheme through the social dialogue.
Based on the 'social consensus' for the reform of the national pension scheme made by the trade unions and the employers' organizations, the Economic, Social and Labor Council took lead in facilitating the discussion on the formation of a special committee. Earlier on September 3, the Ministry of Health and Welfare(MOHW) announced that "If an institution like the Economic, Social and Labor Council forms a social dialogue body to prepare for the improvement measures of the public pension including the national pension and the MOHW is requested to join the dialogue body,the MOHW will actively participate in the discussion."
When the upcoming Tripartite Representatives Meeting approves the formation of a special committee on the reform of the national pension scheme, the discussion is expected to further accelerated. As the government plans to submit a comprehensive management and operation proposal of the national pension scheme to the National Assembly by the end of October, some kinds of tripartite agreement on the core contentious issues of pension benefits and contribution rate adjustment should be included in the government proposal.
However, a problem lies in naming the special committee due to the difference between the government and the labor circle. The government takes up the position that the committee should be named 'the Special Committee on Old Age Income Security' with the aim of a comprehensive discussion to cover not only the national pension but also the basic pension and the retirement pension. However, the labor circle proposes the formation of 'the Special Committee on the Reform of the National Pension Scheme' as a one-point agenda committee, because the reform of the national pension scheme is an imminent issue to be addressed.
reported by Bae Hye-jung
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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