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Concern over Corporate Burdens vs. Urge on Follow-up Measures
The ruling Saenuri party and opposi- tions offer different perspectives on the Supreme Court ruling
Concern over Corporate Burdens vs. Urge on Follow-up Measures
  • By matthew
  • December 30, 2013, 10:05
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The Supreme Court ruled on December 18 2013 that the regular bonus is included in the ordinary wage, which is expected to have great repercussions in the auto industry.
The Supreme Court ruled on December 18 2013 that the regular bonus is included in the ordinary wage, which is expected to have great repercussions in the auto industry.


The ruling party voiced concern over Supreme Court’s decision that regular bonuses are a part of “ordinary wages,” insisting that the decision puts an increasing burden on business. The party also requested both labor and management to work together to reorganize the current wage structure through communication and cooperation. But opposition parties welcomed the decision, urging the National Assembly to take further actions to put an end to possible ongoing conflicts.

Choi Kyoung-hwan, the ruling party’s floor leader.The ruling party’s floor leader Choi Kyoung-hwan said, “We hoped that the Supreme Court’s decision would put a stop to the ongoing controversy, but the conflict is far from over, still leaving embers of new splits and conflicts to all the parties involved including the Congress, the government, labor and management.”

The floor leader added, “The Supreme Court’s ruling will be somewhat helpful for labor, but it worries me that the decision will increase corporate burdens and constrict their investments, dampening job growth and even leading to the loss of current jobs.” He also said, “I am afraid this will bring about another series of conflicts between labor and management.”

In particular, he stressed, “Now is the time the triumvirate of labor, management, and government must put together their wisdom.” He went on to say, “Based on the ruling’s spirit, the government must take swift actions to modify related laws and regulations, which has been dragging along for a long time. Congress must be bi-partisan and should not use this issue for their own political interests.”

The ruling party’s supreme council member Sim Jae-cheol said, “The controversy on wage structure is over, as the principle has been laid down. But there are some issues that cause concerns over corporate burdens and deter vitalization of the economy.” He added, “This is to be welcomed in terms of securing labor’s rights, but it puts more difficulties on investments and employments by small and medium sized businesses, to which the government must pay close attention.”

He also said, “I hope that this landmark decision will be a turning point for labor and management to have understanding of and give concessions to each other by both taking a step back.”

Kim Ki-hyun, the ruling party’s chief policymaker.​The ruling party’s chief policymaker Kim Ki-hyun also said, “With this ruling, it becomes a very critical task that both sides work together to iron out a win-win wage system through active communications and discussions with an open mind.” He then went on, “This decision must be used as momentum to fundamentally review the complex wage setting system and modify the legal infrastructure.”

Opposition parties welcomed this ruling and called for additional actions by the National Assembly.

Jeon Byeong-heon, the major opposition Democratic Party’s floor leader.The major opposition Democratic Party’s floor leader Jeon Byeong-heon said, “The Supreme Court’s decision is only a beginning. Our party’s role becomes more important in terms of pursuing further actions.” Then he said, “The smoke of confusion caused by President Park has been cleared, putting the conflict to an end. But our party must continue our role as a watchdog to prevent unnecessary controversy. We will be watchfully engaged in the legislation process with our party’s policy committee involved.”

Cheon Ho-sun, the minor opposition Justice Party’s head.​The minor opposition Justice Party’s head Cheon Ho-sun said on a standing committee, “There is nothing new about this decision, simply reflecting common sense.” He stressed, “It is regrettable that the decision left a lot to be disputed, as there is a gray area in which businesses can be exempted from paying unpaid ordinary wages in the case that there is a serious managerial crisis or the corporate existence itself is threatened.”