Poor Labor Relations Hurt Korea's Competitiveness

  • By Shon Jin-seok

    September 29, 2016 10:55

    Korea came 26th out of 138 nations in global competitiveness rankings published by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

    Korea rose to 11th place in 2007 but dropped to 26th in 2014 and seems marooned there. The main reason was a low labor competitiveness. Korea ranked 77th in terms of labor market efficiency, with the labor-management relations at near bottom in 135th.

    Frequent strikes ended up tarnishing Korea's image. The only countries that ranked lower than Korea in terms of labor relations were Uruguay, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa.

    Neighboring rivals all did much better with Japan seventh, Hong Kong 14th, Taiwan 16th and China 47th.

    Meanwhile, public transport union workers began striking on Tuesday, while the health workers union downed syringes on Wednesday.

    The Korea Metal Workers Union, which includes Hyundai Motor assembly line workers, went on a partial strike starting Wednesday.

    Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho accused striking workers of being "selfish" and warned that their actions would hurt Korea's competitiveness.

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