19 August, 2021After four months of negotiations and a national warning strike, IndustriALL affiliate Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) has reached the first industry-level agreement on industrial transformation in Korea with the Korean Metal Industry Employers’ Association.
The marathon negotiating session, concluded at dawn on 11 August, also agreed on a 5.11 per cent increase from last year of the metal-industry floor-wage. As of 1 Jan to 31 December 2022, this means Won9,250/hour (US$7.9) or Won2,090,500/month (US$1,787) and is a voluntary floor above the statutory minimum wage of Won9,160/hour (US$7.8).
In the transformation agreement, KMWU and the employers agree to design and implement plans responding to digitalization, automation, electrification and climate crisis-related industrial transformation. The plans will include ensuring employment security and decent work; providing job training for new technology; protecting health/safety/human rights; responding to climate crisis; and fair treatment along the supply chain.
KIM Ho Gyu, KMWU chairperson, says:
"KMWU and the Korean Metal Industry Employers' Association have negotiated as true industry-level organizations. Both the agreement and the declaration will be as important as last year's Protection from infectious disease agreement. It is meaningful that we have agreed with the employers' association on the goals, ideals and future pursued by the KMWU."
A union-management body shall be formed at each work-site to jointly draw up and implement the specific industrial transformation plans.
An joint declaration on metal industry response to climate crisis confirmed the commitment to rapidly and consistently lower carbon emissions together, that companies will secure the funds and build the structure for whole supply-chains to reduce carbon emissions, and that any investment or transformation plans must not aggravate the climate crisis.
Annie Adviento, South East Asia regional secretary, says:
“We congratulate KMWU on signing the industrial transformation agreement. It is more important than ever to negotiate for a Just Transition with employers as digitalization threatens job security and the Korean government is pushing for a tech-centric economy.”
The ratification of the industrial transformation agreement by KMWU branches is expected to take place in October 2021.