In order to contextualize Korean employment and industrial relations (EIR) in the field of EIR thought, a field largely dominated by Western ideas and experience, this chapter breaks down Korean EIR into its component parts using two particular frameworks: a union/labor management model and an employment relationship model. This structured approach brings to the fore often overlooked facts regarding Korean institutions, collective actors, socio-economic and political forces that have shaped its employment relations and industrial environment – namely, the preponderance of small to medium-sized enterprises, the highly politicized evolution of unions and employer associations and their connection to the besieged and suffering ‘haan’ mentality, the movement away from Confucian-system paternal relations and the preference for strong, centralized leadership. The chapter highlights key events that have driven a narrow labor/management bias in Korean EIR, especially the Great Labor Offensive, and examines the whole through Kaufman’s employment relations model.
Browse by title
Young-Myon Lee and Bruce E. Kaufman
Young-Myon Lee and Bruce E. Kaufman
Edited by Young-Myon Lee and Bruce E. Kaufman
Ju-Ho Lee, Hyeok Jeong and Song Chang Hong
Over the last half century, Korea successfully escaped from poverty and socio-economic instability to achieve remarkable economic growth and democracy. An average Korean lived on 2.3 dollars per day in the 1950s; she now earns about 60 dollars per day. Since 1960, the Korean economy has maintained a 6 percent annual growth rate of real GDP per capita, becoming the 13th largest economy in the world (Maddison Project, 2013). This achievement is regarded as a historic case of sustainable growth. While several factors contributed to this outstanding growth, there is emerging consensus that Korea’s achievement of both sustained economic development and democracy is mainly due to its investment in people. At its initial stage of development, Korea faced problems similar to most other developing countries. To escape from a vicious cycle of poverty, Korea had to overcome a legacy of antiquated traditions in education and training. Koreans had traditionally neglected vocational and technical training, owing partly to Confucianism, which praises scholars of the humanities and farmers while disregards professions in manufacturing and trade. Because parents encouraged their children to pursue academic education in colleges and hold white-collar jobs, industries lagged behind with few technicians, skilled workers, and blue-collar workers. To make matters worse, Japanese colonial rule prohibited Koreans from accumulating both physical and human capital for entrepreneurship in industrial sectors. The three years of the Korean War with the division of the Korean peninsula also devastated the economic and social infrastructure and fundamentals for economic growth.
Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead
Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead and Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez
This first chapter, as an introduction to the whole book, summarises how growing inequality in Europe may have emerged from mechanisms in the world of work, with a particular focus on the possible role of social dialogue and the social partners – and more generally industrial relations – in reducing inequalities. The chapter first presents some major lessons from the national chapters and summarises their contributions to the existing research: How did national industrial relations systems address inequalities over time, and what have been their effects on various sources of inequality? This introduction also reviews some concrete outcomes of collective bargaining at national, sectoral and firm level that may have helped to reduce inequalities. It extends for this purpose the number of countries (beyond those covered by national chapters) in order to provide the most extensive overview of such outcomes. Third, this introduction complements the national stories with a comparative statistical analysis from the European Structure of Earnings Survey (SES, Eurostat) to more accurately identify specific effects of collective pay agreements on pay inequality, working time distribution and work contracts. Finally, this leads us to a number of policy considerations, which are presented briefly in the closing section and further developed in the national chapters.
Industrial relations is as relevant in emerging economies as it is in developed economies. The chapter examines the institutionalization of employment relations in five emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Turkey. The analysis reveals patterns of continuity and discontinuity. Many features of industrial relations remain path-dependent despite significant changes in the economic and political context in each of these countries. Democratic transition and the incorporation of organized labour and employers expanded the influence of these actors on economic and social policy. However, the liberalization of product and service markets placed pressure on industrial relations institutions. The degree to which these institutions have been able to contribute to inclusive development depended on a balance of associational and institutional power. This determined their capacity to influence labour and social policy at a macro level and to regulate flexibility at the workplace. High degrees of unemployment and informal employment pose internal constraints on industrial relations institutions and limit their potential to contribute to inclusive outcomes. This is compounded by a deepening representational gap and the increasing heterogeneity among members of employers’ and workers’ organizations. Without a concerted effort to expand labour protection through institutions for labour relations to all those who work, industrial relations will continue to be eroded and constrained in its ability to contribute to inclusive development.