Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Federation of Korean Industries is losing its credibility

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), one of the most prestigious organizations in South Korea, is now facing a severe image crisis. Various organizations have brought charges of data manipulation of its surveys by its members.

On April 1, 2009, FKI published results of its survey conducted on 800 South Korean adults on the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA). The study said that majority of the Korean people hope that the agreement should be ratified as soon as possible between the two countries. Only after few hours, FKI changed its statement saying that the early statement was “erroneous.” The new statement said that slightly over one fourth of the respondents want quick ratification. FKI said that the error was caused by an internal mis-communication.

In February FKI published a report comparing the starting salaries between Korean and Japanese companies. The report said that South Korea’s 30 major conglomerates will cut annual salaries of their novice employees by 28%. However, The Korea Labor & Society Institute (KLSI) opposed the report saying that FKI changed the actual data to justify its wage cut. Another major organization, the Korea Employers Federation (KEF) supported KLSI. FKI said that it used 2007 report of KEF where it has already published its 2008 edition.

However, things got worse in March over its survey results on non-permanent workers. The organization did not want to disclose its questionnaire.

Formed in 1961, the FKI mainly backs family oriented business conglomerates also known as the Chaebol. Now, people are saying that the members of this organization are manipulating its data for their own interest.

Related article:

The Korea Times