Legislation improves worker safety, removes protest restrictions
5 days after a Moderate Party Regent blocked Prime Minister Hwang’s initial labor reform legislation, a more limited version of the bill has passed the Chamber of the Commonwealth and will become law. The new legislation notably excludes a minimum wage stipulation, which was seen as the primary facet holding the bill back.
Labor leaders like the Social Democrat leader Devrim Köroğlu have loudly voiced their opposition the compromise bill amidst claims that it “continues to disrespect the workers of this nation.” However, the bill is widely seen as solving the primary causes of the labor unrest that rocked the nation in the past two weeks. Protests and strikes have generally settled down as the legislative process progressed.
Hwang seemed relieved by the outcome, but according to some in her inner circle, she remains concerned that without a minimum wage, labor issues will be recurring. However, this legislation will buy her administration time until October’s midterm elections, where the coalition is expected to gain seats in the Chamber of the Commonwealth.
President Kim I-seul has remained silent on this issue, likely over fears that taking a public stance would further fracture her Free Democratic Party. However, this has likely taken a toll. In a recent poll by BSR/Albarine University, Kim’s approval rating is down to 44% with a -9% net approval, the lowest it has been since she took office. Labor issues, combined with concerns over a lack of response and direction over issues like the Kaijan crisis are likely behind the public’s increasingly weakened confidence in the current presidential administration.
The legislation’s provisions are expected to take effect immediately.