The Republic of Korea has been a member State of the ILO since 1991 and has ratified a total of 28 ILO Conventions. These include four of the eight core Conventions, specifically the two on discrimination (No.100, No.111) and two on child labour (No.138, No.182). The Republic of Korea has yet to ratify the remaining four fundamental Conventions on freedom from forced labour (No. 29 and No.105) and freedom of association and collective bargaining (No.87 and No. 98). In 2008, the Government ratified Convention No.155 and Convention No.187 on occupational safety and health. More recently, in November 2011, the Government ratified a further four technical conventions: Convention No. 2 (Unemployment), Convention No.115 (Radiation Protection), Convention No.139 (Occupational Cancer) and Convention No.47 (Forty-Hour Week).
In October 2003, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government of the Republic of Korea, through its Ministry of Employment and Labor, and the International Labour Organization. In the following year, the ILO/Korea Partnership Programme was launched. The programme provides technical assistance to help achieve the goals of the ILO’s decent work agenda in Asia and the Pacific. The partnership’s approaches and plan of work was reaffirmed in December 2011 at the ILO’s 15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting in Kyoto, Japan. The meeting recognized the importance of the ILO/Korea Partnership Programme in supporting the objectives of the Asian Decent Work Decade (2006-2015).
The Programme presently supports the following areas which have been identified as ILO regional priorities: 1) Competitiveness, productivity and jobs; 2) Labour market governance and social protection; and 3) Labour migration. Since its inception, the ILO/Korea Partnership Programme has increased its scope of work to cover vocational training, occupational safety and health, green jobs and labour migration in many countries of the region.
The ILO’s partnership work with the Republic of Korea is supported through the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok, Thailand.