South Korea Talks Compromise

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SEOUL: After three weeks of strikes, rallies and protests that have crippled South Korea's economy, opposition members will get another shot at a labor law highly favorable to employers that passed Parliament in their absence. In a meeting with opposition leaders, President Kim Young-Sam offered the two sides the opportunity to reach a compromise of their own. The law, passed December 26, gives employers more freedom to lay off employees, adjust their hours and hire replacements for strikers, while delaying for up to five years the right to form multiple unions, making the confederations illegal. Leaders of those unions did their part for peace Saturday, ordering a temporary halt to protests that has eased tensions and made Monday's talks possible. But the union leaders were not included in the talks, though President Kim announced at the meeting that he was suspending 16 warrants for their arrest. Unions have vowed to revive the strikes full-time in mid-February if the law is not revised; meanwhile, workers will continue to walk out on Wednesdays, as a reminder to Parliament that they are organized, and they are waiting for results.