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1945-1950 Introduction and Implementation of Worker Protection System in North Korea

Lee, Se Young 1

1사단법인 아시아평화와역사연구소

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ABSTRACT

This study is an attempt to clarify a part of the character of the North Korean people’s democratic system by analyzing specific cases of democratic reform after liberation. In North Korea, in the process of democratic reform, various labor laws were enacted to protect workers and institutionalized the social insurance system. From the perspective of the North Korean regime, it had the aspect of securing the support of workers and propagating the superiority of the system, but the aspect of improving the lives of workers could not be ignored. Labor protection measures were also necessary to protect the life and safety of workers. Labor protection measures started with coal mines and mines, which are particularly dangerous sectors, and have been expanded to all industries since 1948. This also included maternal protection measures for female workers, facilitating women’s entry into workers. The implementation of labor protection measures reduced accidents at North Korean production sites, but they were not completely eradicated. There were still many workplaces where proper protection measures were not taken, and there was a tendency to avoid workplace responsibility by attributing the responsibility for the accident to the carelessness of workers. As such, the social insurance system and labor protection measures appeared as policies for workers in the formation of a people’s democratic system in North Korea and were of great significance in that they directly affect the body and health of workers. The early introduction of these worker protection systems showed the nature of the ‘bilateral contract’ of state-labor relations under the North Korean people’s democratic system. In other words, it was intended to make workers fulfill their obligations to increase production as much as the state obligates to protect workers.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.