Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalization
One of the most remarkable aspects of South Korea's transition from impoverished post-colonial nation to fully-fledged industrialized democracy has been the growth of its independent and dynamic labour movement. Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalisation examines current trends and transformations within the Korean labour movement since the 1990s.
It has been a common assumption that the 'third wave' of democratisation, the end of the Cold War, and the spread of neoliberal globalisation in the latter part of the 20th century have helped to create an environment in which organised labour is better placed to overcome bureaucratic national unionism and transform itself into a potential counter-globalisation movement. However, Kevin Gray argues that despite the apparent continued phenomena of labour militancy and the rhetoric of anti-neoliberalism, the mainstream independent labour movement in Korea has become increasingly institutionalised and bureaucratised into the new capitalist democracy. This process is demonstrated by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions' experience of participation in various forms of policy making forums. Gray suggests that as a result, the KCTU has failed to mount an effective challenge against processes of neoliberal restructuring and concomitant social polarisation.
The Korean experience provides an excellent case study for understanding the relationship between organised labour and globalisation. Korean Workers and Neoliberal Globalisation will appeal to students and scholars of Korean studies and International Political Economy, as well as Asian politics and economics.
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Despite the reform of the labour laws following the democratic transition in 1987 ,
the laws had remained particularly stringent . Whilst the 1987 labour laws
guaranteed the right to organize unions and conduct collective bargaining at the
Many of the KCTU's demands concerning social welfare were realized ,
particularly regarding the expansion of the Employment Insurance System ( EIS )
, the reform of the management of the National Pension Scheme ( NPS ) and the
A key social reform has been the expansion of the social welfare system , through
which society can ostensibly be shielded from the risk ... The KCTU has been
successful in achieving many such social reforms and exerting a positive ...
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Neoliberal globalization labour and resistance
Globalization crisis and the entrenchment
The rise and fall of militant labour unionism in Korea
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