The government has officially scrapped two major guidelines that had served as key parts of labor reform efforts of the previous Park Geun-hye administration.
The rules had sparked conflict between the government and labor sector.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor on Monday held a meeting with the heads of 47 agencies affiliated with the ministry and decided to scrap the two key regulations that were part of the previous government’s labor reform plan.
The two guidelines unveiled early last year drew strong opposition from the labor sector which claimed the rules enabled easy dismissal.
The main focus of the so-called "fair personnel management" guideline was to make it possible to dismiss poor-performing employees. Meanwhile, the regulation on "operating rules of employment" sought to ease laws on securing the majority consent of the labor union or workers in case an employer tried to introduce rules deemed disadvantageous for employees.
In protest of the regulations, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions withdrew from a trilateral body composed of the government and the business and labor sectors.
South Korea's largest umbrella union continuously called for abolishing the two regulations and set the abandonment of the rules as a prerequisite for holding dialogue with the government.
The labor ministry said Monday the previous government introduced the regulations unilaterally without holding sufficient discussions with the labor sector and without gaining social consensus.
The ministry said the government has decided to scrap the regulations as they continued to draw confusion during the implementation process, and added it hopes the move will lead to restored dialogue.
It was only a matter of time before the rules were scrapped as President Moon Jae-in had made it a campaign promise. Labor Minister Kim Young-joo made the same pledge during her confirmation hearing.
Following the decision, she declared that a violation of the law has now been made right.
Korea's two major umbrella unions have welcomed the move but said that efforts to revive the trilateral dialogue are still premature. This implies that scrapping the guidelines is not enough and that more of the unions’ demands should be met before dialogue can take place.