After the financial crisis of 1997, one of the most controversial labor issues was temporary employment in Korea. Even in other advanced countries, this labor problem is getting worse with global market integration, heightened competition, neoliberal economic reform and the innovation of information and communications technology.
The temporary employment issue has been criticized by the labor world for inferior treatment of temporary workers compared to permanent employees. For instance, temporary workers get paid for their labor at almost the minimum wage. They do not have enough break time at work. Worse, they may lose their jobs easily after expiration of a contract. Some workers even faced an immediate dismissal because of a labor movement. In this way, the temporary workers’ position is very unstable, and their human rights are ignored.
● What is the Meaning of Temporary Worker?
Temporary work or temporary employment refers to a situation where the employee is expected to leave the employer within a certain period of time. (From Wikipedia)
The temporary workers’ position is a case that is not in accord with even one of standards when compared to a permanent workers’ case. The standards are very various including term of employment contract, working time, format of contract, and so on. Temporary positions also include contract workers who are employed by contract for a certain period of time, workers who are employed temporarily and seasonal and part-time workers, called untypical or non-standard employment. On some occasions, full-time workers are temporary workers at the same time. This means that both full-time workers and part-time workers can be included as temporary workers.
The Korea National Statistical Office classifies the length of employment in this way: for more than one year, workers are regular employees; for between one month and one year, workers are temporary employees; and for within one month workers are classified as daily employed workers. In contrast, the Ministry of Labor classified regular employees as people who work for more than one month and temporary employees or daily employed workers as people who work for less than one month.
● Difference & Discrimination
There is a huge discrimination in wage for temporary workers. According to Statistics Korea, the wage difference between temporary workers and permanent workers is almost 1,220,000 Won. Furthermore, this difference increases when it comes to major companies. The bigger the company is, the lower the wages per hour for temporary workers and the more hours they have to work.
We can also experience discrimination at lunch time. According to employment law, if working hours are over eight, the company must give the worker an hour break. In this sentence, the break means lunch time. However, 20 percent of temporary workers said that their company did not follow this rule.
We can see that the Hyundai Motors’ Hope Bus affair shows how temporary workers are discriminated against. Hope Bus is a bus which people who support workers’ opinions get on to for demonstrating their demands. Temporary workers in Hyundai Motors clamored for their company to change their positions to permanent positions. To support their opinions, citizens made the Hope Bus. However, it was blocked by the government and Hyundai Motors using armed force.
The government has tried to change temporary workers into permanent workers forcibly. However, this policy madea big problem. When the policy was enforced, companies started to fire their temporary workers that could be permanent workers. Since this occasion, unemployed people have increased and the unemployment crisis has intensified.
● For Better Work Circumstances
The EU regulated companies in their area not to discriminate against the temporary or permanent workers. They also regulate that work time should be equal to wage. Some countries in Europe such as the U.K. and Germany regulate the laws on labor individually to reinforce a prohibition on this discrimination.
CBNU also tries to increase students’ competitiveness for solving the unemployment crisis. In the Career Support Center (CSC), the university runs several programs like the Career Development Belt (CDB) in the Grand Person Project and Lifelong Guidance Professors (LGP) to enhance students’ abilities. CBNU also runs the Leaders in Industry University Cooperation (LINC).The LINC is a project through which local universities cooperate with local companies to breed practical talent and raise the competitiveness of local industry. 51 universities are already participating in this project. Recently, CBNU was selected as a leading university for this project.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy(MOTIE) and the Korea Institute for the Advancement of Technology (KIAT) also run the Hope Link Project. It is a project in which students research their local companies to give local companies and students a chance to communicate. This project can solve the unemployment crisis. Furthermore, it can solve the local company’s manpower shortage and increase the permanent worker rate.
There have been a lot of efforts to solve the unemployment crisis like revising both the legislation and the companies’ recruitment systems. However, there are no means to do this if these efforts are not kept. Companies have to have business ethics. Students have to get their special technology and competitiveness. The government also has to make an effort to solve this problem by revising legislation and making special programs for the unemployment crisis.