The National Assembly held on Monday parliamentary hearings over President Park Geun-hye’s nominees for the gender equality and labor ministers, focusing on wealth accumulation and policy viewpoints.
Cho Yoon-sun, who has been tapped to lead the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, conceded that she failed to report some of her assets when questioned by Rep. In Jae-guen of the main opposition Democratic United Party.
“I should have more carefully checked the reporting of my wealth but there were some omissions,” said Cho. “There is some fault in failing to check each item.”
The assets in question are stocks that Cho owns in her father’s company. Cho was also accused of evading the required taxes when borrowing 200 million won ($183,000) from her mother and engaging in real estate speculation.
Opposition lawmakers also questioned Cho’s fitness to head the ministry focused on gender equality.
DUP Rep. Nam In-soon said that Cho, a lawyer and former vice chairwoman of CitiBank’s Seoul office, lacked experience working on issues related to women, young adults, and family, and therefore was unfit to head the ministry.
In response, Cho said that she had insight into the issues of women’s employment and family rearing responsibilities owning from her experience of working in the “male-dominated sectors of finance and law.”
Cho pledged to improve the working conditions of female workers in temporary jobs.
Phang Ha-nam, who was nominated to head the Ministry of Employment and Labor, also vowed to put an end to the discrimination faced by the nation’s 8.6 million temporary workers.
“I approve of the rational usage of temporary positions. However, I will make sure that (employers) do not abuse temporary workers or irrationally discriminate against them,” said Phang, a former senior researcher at the government-sponsored Korea Labor Institute.
The labor ministry nominee’s remarks come amid recent revelations that some of the nation’s largest conglomerations illegally hired temporary workers in place of permanent employees. Last month, E-Mart, the nation’s largest discount chain store, was found to have illegally hired some 2,000 temporary workers via referral agencies.
“I will thoroughly review whether similar labor law violations were committed by other firms in the retail industry,” said Phang.
The labor ministry nominee also weighed in on the ongoing labor dispute at Ssangyong Motor Co.
“People who have difficulty maintaining their livelihoods due to layoffs or voluntary resignation should be taken care of in terms of stable employment and stable livelihoods,” said Phang.
By Samuel Songhoon Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)