The Evolution of Korean Industrial and Employment Relations
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The Evolution of Korean Industrial and Employment Relations

Edited by Young-Myon Lee and Bruce E. Kaufman

The Evolution of Korean Industrial and Employment Relations explores current employment and workplace relations practice in South Korea, tracing their origins to key historical events and giving cultural, politico-economic and global context to the inevitable cultural adaptation in one of Asia’s ‘miraculous’ democracies.
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Chapter 7: New trends in Korean labor interest representation

Myung Joon Park


This chapter analyzes and differentiates between various developments put forward by the Korean labor movement to address Korea’s labor market segmentation and limited growth in labor interest representation. Korean labor’s responses are evaluated against four types of interest representation, described using eight case studies. Systematic analysis of these types’ strengths and weaknesses leads to several conclusions. First, labor heterogeneity leads to deterioration of social unity among workers. Second, as this diversification of labor interests becomes more deeply entrenched, restructuring of the entire employment system becomes urgent. The most pressing objective for the leading actors of the labor movement is to reform the structural framework of industrial relations, while taking developmental aspects of new labor movement practices into consideration.

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