Saturday, November 17, 2018
KEF Member Companies Kick out Pro-labor Vice Chairman
A Refusal to Be Tamed
KEF Member Companies Kick out Pro-labor Vice Chairman
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • July 4, 2018, 12:02
Share articles

Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Employers Federation (KEF), presides over an extraordinary general meeting in Seoul on July 3.
Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Employers Federation (KEF), presides over an extraordinary general meeting in Seoul on July 3.

The members of the Korea Employers Federation (KEF) has kicked out its controversial Vice Chairman Song Young-joong, a pro-government figure who previously served as a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Employment and Labor.

After his inauguration in April this year, the vice chairman sided with the labor community on key issues, including minimum wage negotiations, saying that the KEF should change itself to keep pace with the times. His pro-labor attitude and remarks elicited a strong reaction from KEF members. Some experts say that the government’s attempt to tame the KEF, which represents the employers' side in labor issues, has failed.

The KEF held an extraordinary general meeting in Seoul on July 3 and voted for Song's dismissal. Of the 407 members of the federation, 233 participated in the meeting and only nine voted against his dismissal.


According to KEF members, the vice chairman has been controversial since day one, even to the point of saying that the KEF should look upward, that is, President Moon Jae-in. In the end, their conflict exploded in late May, when the vice chairman took sides with the labor community by claiming that a new minimum wage calculation method should be determined not in the National Assembly but in the Minimum Wage Commission consisting of representatives from the government, employers, and employees. He retracted his remark the next day as the National Assembly strongly reacted to it.