|▲ Irregular workers hold up the signs that read "Don't blame the minimum wage! Shame on the move against the minimum wage increase!" (Jeong Ki-hoon/Korea Daily Labor News)|
A worker surnamed Kim(60) who worked for a company in Incheon City which manufactures the products for landscape architecture was transferred to a new company in April last year, citing the off-season managerial difficulty. The new company was hastily established by a person surnamed Kang who is in fact the production managing director of the main company. The main company employed nine workers. When Kim agreed to move to the new company, the main company promised him to "maintain the same working condition after the transfer without any disadvantage".
Four production workers including Kim were transferred to the new split-up company, leaving five workers including one in charge of marketing and accounting of the company. December last year, Kim was dismissed. However, he was unable to apply the remedy for unfair dismissal, as workers of the companies with fewer than 5 employees are not protected by the rights enshrined in the Labor Standards Act.
Kim who worked for the main company for eleven years lamented saying that "I was doing the exactly same work as before after my transfer to the new split-up company located in Siheung City commuting from Incheon. What the company has done, however, was to transfer the targeted production workers to a small privately owned company to avoid paying the additional allowances regulated in the Labor Standards Act and again to dismiss the worker just before the new minimum wage was being applied (from Jan. 1 this year)."
According to the labor circle on Feb. 18, the cases of so-called 'corporate spin-off' to avoid the statutory obligation and the burden of labor costs through splitting up the parent company into two or more are frequently reported lately around the time when the new minimum wage adjusted with high increase rate became effective. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) has been running a minimum wage violation reporting center(contact 1577-2260) which receives the complaints filed by the workers from the end of last year.
reported by Yang Ou-ram
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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