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LKP chairman lambasts labor union

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Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn speaks during a seminar on the economy at Korea University, Seoul, Wednesday. Yonhap
Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn speaks during a seminar on the economy at Korea University, Seoul, Wednesday. Yonhap

By Park Ji-won

Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn strongly condemned the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Wednesday over recent clashes with police and management during rallies, saying its "violent acts and illegal activities" were not properly handled.

He also criticized the Moon Jae-in administration for going easy on "lawlessness" seen at rallies by members of the nation's biggest umbrella union.

"Recently, the KCTU has been staging protests in front of firms which hired other trade union members, attempting to force them to hire KCTU members," Hwang said during a seminar at Korea University, Wednesday. "This shouldn't be allowed to happen in a country with a liberal democracy.

"Due to the protest, our law is collapsing. This will not help revive the economy."

He latest remarks against the liberal union came after he said Monday that the "KCTU is blocking labor reform, which is destroying the economy."

Hwang has stepped up his offensives against the government's economic policy since he was elected party leader, claiming the government has been focusing on dealing with North Korea rather than the economy.

The KCTU clashed with Hwang after protesting his visit to Gyeonggi Province during a tour last week. It has criticized him for being responsible for the corruption scandal under the Park Geun-hye administration. Hwang served as justice minister, prime minister and acting president under President Park.

His party also visited the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Tuesday to call for a thorough investigation of the KCTU over accusations of assault against police officers during protests near Hyundai Heavy Industries last week.

Meanwhile, Hwang also criticized the government's "anti-market" policy, claiming its intervention in the market by raising the minimum wage and reducing working hours had a negative impact on the country's economy.

"The income of self-employed people or small- and medium-sized firms halved due to the minimum wage rise, as labor costs account for a huge amount of money in their total income," he said.

"The government's policy to cut the weekly working hours will eliminate the positive side of hard-working people, which makes the country uncompetitive in the global market."

He also urged the government to take more active regulatory reform to revitalize the economy.

Park Ji-won

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