Once laws protecting workers were removed chaebol took advantage immediately, firing about 30% of their workers. In January 1998 President-elect Kim Dae Jung (bio: nobelprize Wiki, promised workers a US Style social welfare system as compensation but that was never delivered due to the enormous cost of such as system and constraints on government spending.
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU, Wiki) made valiant efforts to slow down neoliberal restructuring. Strike activity, measured in days lost, in 1998 & 1999 was 3 times the 1997 level.
Upon taking office President Kim took decisive actions against labour movements by issuing arrest warrents for strike leaders.
However there were no consensus among permanent and temporary works, media and the middle class. This is evidenced by the fact that the more conservative Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU, has refused to join forces with the KCTU in the fight against restructing.