It has been argued that the reduction in manpower by 2032 can be minimized to less than 100 by integrating the five power generation companies that operate coal-fired power plants and exchanging manpower. It is a proposal that the loss of manpower in the process of closing the coal-fired power plant can be minimized by solving the problem of the inability to exchange manpower due to the different corporations of the five power plants.
This came out in the afternoon of the 19th at a discussion forum to seek alternatives for the power generation industry for a just transition to carbon neutrality held at the National Assembly Hall. At a discussion on the day hosted by Kim Joo-young and Lee Su-jin (proportionate) lawmakers from the Democratic Party of Korea and the Federation of Korean Industries, Yonsei University professor Yeong-sang Cho (industrial engineering) said, “The point at which five power plants stop generating coal power and the point at which they switch to liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined cycle power plants. Due to this discrepancy, generation of idle manpower for each public power generation company is inevitable.” “If the five companies are integrated or at least a manpower exchange system is established, even if manpower reduction is unavoidable in the long run, there is a possibility to minimize the number of manpower reductions to 93 by 2032.” said. However, it is expected that non-regular workers working inside and outside the power plant, including partner companies, are excluded.
Contribute to the stability of renewable energy with high volatility and intermittent power generation company integration
Since the five power generation companies are separate corporations, they cannot directly exchange manpower. As a result, a contradictory situation arises where one place needs manpower and the other place has to reduce manpower. This year alone, Korea South-East Power needed 170 new workers due to the LNG conversion, but Korea East-West Power and Korea Midland Power had to send out 253 and 30 workers, respectively, due to the closure of their power plants. If these three companies are one corporation or at least human resources exchange is possible, the reduction can be reduced to 113 by shifting the number of employees to 170. In this way, if the abolition of coal-fired power plants by 2032 and the supply and demand for manpower due to LNG conversion are adjusted, the number of job losses will be reduced to 93.
The integration of the five power generation companies can contribute to not only responding to manpower reduction but also enhancing the utilization of renewable energy. Solar power and wind power, which are representative renewable energies, are considered as variable and intermittent energy sources with large differences in power generation and quality depending on the natural environment. To operate it stably, investment in facilities such as a common renewable energy storage device is essential. Professor Cho emphasized, “The public sector should invest in such storage equipment and based on this, establish a brokerage network that integrates private small-scale renewable energy power plants to ensure stable power supply.”
It is argued that, in addition to such restructuring at the industrial level, it is urgent to establish governance in which both environmental and civic movements, including labor, participate. Lee Jung-hee, head of the labor-management relations research division at the Korea Labor Institute, said that the tasks were to establish principles through social dialogue, to strengthen employment stability through industry-wide bargaining, and to resolve discrimination between workers through management participation at each workplace.
Establishing principles through social dialogue
Employment security ‘middle-level governance’ required through industry-wide bargaining
Director Lee Jeong-hee criticized, “The employment crisis caused by the closure of coal-fired power plants so far has not been very serious, but the employment crisis at the power plants to be shut down will be very serious.” did.
A just transition for responding to the climate crisis is understood in various concepts, but the key point is that the person responsible for the climate crisis must bear the burden. “The important thing is the transition principle that no one will be left in the midst of a crisis,” said Director Lee.
As various stakeholders are excluded, the governance of industrial transformation in Korea is dwarfed. Not only the legislative debate at the National Assembly level, but also the environmental and civic movements, as well as the labor community, are not effectively participating in the discussion structure of the 2050 Carbon Neutrality Committee or the conversion plan of the competent ministries. In this situation, arguments such as ‘speed control’ appear within the labor movement. It is argued that the carbon-neutral schedule was created in a rush that could not be afforded.
Director Lee emphasized, “Speed control is never an alternative.” He emphasized, “We should not delay carbon neutrality, but seek a way within it while going on schedule, and adhere to the principle of social solidarity that no one should be left behind.” This is because, if the theory of speed control becomes strong, there is a high risk that the labor community will remain as a resistance force in the climate crisis.
In order to overcome this, the task that must be preceded is the establishment of governance. Director Lee said, “The governance structure should be structured in layers and principles should be established through social dialogue including the parties involved. Let’s examine ways to resolve discrimination between people.”