|▲ Yang Gyu-mo, Chairman of KPX Holdings takes an oath as he appears as a witness before the parliamentary inspection by the Environment and Labor Committee held in the Government Complex in Sejong City on October 12.(photo by Jeong Ki-hoon/The Korea Daily Labor News)|
The parliamentary inspection of the Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL) by the Environment and Labor Committee was held on October 12 at the Government Complex in Sejong City. Employers appeared in person to the standing committee's inspection denied the allegations of union busting or emphasized the necessity of night work in relation to the issues of unfair labor practice and long working hours for which the committee members rebuked strongly.
Rep. Han Jung-ae of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea criticized Yang Gyu-mo, Chairman of KPX Holdings who appeared in person as a witness for the testimony to the parliamentary audit, that "KPX Chemical, a subsidiary of KPX Holdings, made a consulting contract with a law firm whose representative attorney was a member of the MOEL's Time-off System Deliberation Committee in 2015 and attempted to dismantle the trade union".
Rep. Han also said that "KPX Chemical which enjoyed the business surplus over 40 years in the past declared the business crisis all of sudden in 2015 and demanded the trade union a package proposal of wage freeze, wage peak system, abolition of seniority-based wage(or hobong) system, introduction of performance-based wage system and wage cut for new entry employees which was prepared by the attorney who served as a member of the MOEL's Time-off System Deliberation Committee and MOEL's policy consulting attorney during the Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye administrations".
KPX Holdings Chairman Yang Gyu-mo refuted the allegation, arguing that "The future challenges ahead due to the increasing competition in the chemical industry since 2014 made the company get started the system improvement. The wage level of KPX Chemical employees is the highest (in the region of Ulsan City) and the average annual wage of production workers reaches 97 million won(US$85,580)." Regarding the allegation of unfair labor practice, Chairman Yang was adamant that "the (measures) were produced with the legal consultation, but if found against the law, he will accept the punishment accordingly." As to the mass stock transfer to his son and grand children, he said that "it might be against the people's sentiment, but he paid all the required taxes."
The parliamentary inspection also revealed that Netmarble Games, an online game publisher, is still engaged in night works, even after its announcement on 'the improvement measures for working culture' to abolish the night and weekend works, when an employee died of extra working hours to meet the deadline called 'crunch mode'.
Rep. Shin Chang-hyun of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea said that "his office went to the building where Marble is housed for inspection at 11 p.m. and workers were still working". Rep. Lee Jung-mi of the opposition Justice Party called on Marble to submit the documents regarding the extended work hours". Netmarble Vice President Seo Jang-won appealed to the committee that "as the company provides 24-hour services to the game consumers around the world, the extended work hours can not be avoided". He further clarified that "the company pays the exactly calculated allowances for the extended works, the company abides by the regulation".
Rep. Kang Byung-won of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea who has long focused on the industrial accidents and diseases of Samsung Semiconductor commended Labor Minister Kim Young-ju for her work unveiling the safety and health inspection report on Samsung Semiconductor immediately after her taking office, but was critical of the position of the MOEL in the past that represented the interests of Samsung".
Lawmakers of major opposition parties of Liberty Korea Party and People's Party spent most of their inspection time on the Moon Jae-in government's employment policies such as job regularization in the public sector and creation of 810,000 jobs.
Major witnesses such as those related to the illegal use of dispatched workers by Paris Baguette and recruitment scandal by Kangwon Land and leukemia problem by Samsung Semiconductors did not appear in the first day of the standing committee's investigation session.
reported by Bae Hye-jung
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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