This study is a case study of three sites of labor politics in South Korea.
The three sites are the Economic, Social, and Labor Council (ESLC), the Environmental and Labor Committee (ELC), and Gwangju-type jobs as a local association of labor, management, government, and community.
Since democratization, labor has emerged as a major actor in politics, and labor politics research has increased, but it is dominated by studies that emphasize normative authority. This study starts from the fact that there is no full-scale empirical analysis, despite the need for case analysis conducted with distance from the target.
We characterize the nature of the central labor politics of the ESLC and the ELC in terms of three dimensions: institutions, people and activities. At the local level, we study the Gwangju-type job, a representative example of a local labor-management system.
There are four main research methods: 1) literature reviews; 2) seminars with invited experts (interviews); 3) dataset construction; and 4) field research.
Through the literature review, we derived detailed research questions and identified relevant experts. We invited experts to conduct fourteen sminars and used the content as interview material. We built a dataset in two parts: the ESLC and the ELC.
We collected information to identify institutional (structural) forms, people, and activities (practices). For Gwangju-type jobs, we conducted informal stakeholder interviews combined with fieldwork four times.
This report is largely comprised of eight chapters.
Chapter 1 examines the study’s purpose and methodology.
Chapter 2 identifies changes in the institutional form and structure of ESLCs.
Chapter 3 explores compositional features through membership information on labor, business, government, and public representatives who participated in ESLCs.
Chapter 4 deals with the labor agenda and activities(agreements, recommendations, suggestions) of the ESLC.
Chapter 5 describes the history of the ELC and the characteristics of the members of the ELC from the 13th to the 20th Parliament.
Chapter 6 analyzes the information on labor bills as an ELC activity. We wanted to find out who introduced which bills, how many bills were introduced, how they were processed, and what were the characteristics of the bills in terms of content.
Chapter 7 shows how Gwangju-type jobs became ‘jobs without labor’ by separating the stages planning and agreement.
Chapter 8 summarizes the chapter analyses and reconstructs new questions for Korean labor politics.
The study sought to identify the nature of Korean ‘labor politics.’ We build vast archives to better identify the systems found in labor policy making committees, for the purpose of highlighting questions and topics that Parliament should take seriously in the future.