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National Assembly Passes Industrial Safety Bill

#Hot Issues of the Week l 2018-12-30



The parliament on Thursday held this year’s final plenary session and passed the so-called Kim Yong-gyun Act with a vote of 165 to one with 19 abstentions.

The act is named after a 24-year-old subcontract worker who was found dead on December eleventh after getting stuck on a coal conveyor belt at the Taean Thermal Power Plant operated by the Korea Western Power in South Chungcheong Province.

His death has sparked public uproar about contract workers' safety and treatment. The victim’s mother, who had met with lawmakers and party leaders to call for the need to pass a related bill, sat in the visitors' gallery as the voting took place.

The revision to the Industrial Safety and Health Act calls for contractors to take measures to better ensure the safety of irregular or contract workers and mandates stiffer punishments in the event of accidents.

Under the revision, companies violating health and safety rules will be subject to a fine not exceeding one billion won, which is ten times as large as the current amount. The passage of the bill came after President Moon Jae-in on Thursday ordered two of his top aides to attend a parliamentary session as requested by the opposition.

Rival parties agreed to hold a session of the Assembly steering committee on Monday to address allegations that the presidential office may have illegally collected information about private citizens.

Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok and Senior Secretary for Civil Affairs Cho Kuk --- two of the four presidential officials the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) has accused of playing a role in the alleged illegal surveillance --- will attend the meeting.

Last week, the LKP filed a complaint with the prosecution against the top presidential officials in connection to the allegations.

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