|Dependent self-employed workers shout for their basic labor rights. [Yang Ou-ram/The Labor Today]|
No follow-up measures have been taken even though the Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL) had quite a while ago promised to improve the institutions to guarantee the basic labor rights for the workers in the special forms of employment or dependent self-employed workers. The government only repeats the actual conditions survey and the sufficient reviews by the experts committee. There are rising concerns that the longer the reviews are taking place, the higher the possibility of selective guarantee of basic labor rights would be. To address the anomaly, calls are voiced to take feasible measures which can be done right now such as the ratification of the ILO fundamental conventions.
According to the labor circle on October 21, the MOEL has been conducting an actual working conditions survey concerning the workers in the special forms of employment for over a year since the latter half of last year. In May last year, the National Human Rights Commission made a recommendation to the Employment and Labor Minister to enact a new law to protect the basic labor rights for the workers in the special forms of employment or amend the article of the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act to include as a worker defined in the Act.
Three months after the recommendation made by the National Human Rights Commission, the MOEL announced that it will "prepare and implement legislative protection measures for the guarantee of the basic labor rights (for the workers in the special forms of employment) through the conduct of an actual conditions survey and reviews by labor, employers and experts. However, the survey is still going on, even after one year has passed since it started in October last year.
An MOEL official said that "It takes longer time since the the vocations of the workers in the special forms of employment are various and the employment relations are complex," adding that "We can not predict when the survey would be wrapped up."
The guarantee of basic labor rights for the workers in the special forms of employment is one of policy agendas for the Moon Jae-in government. During an election campaign last year, Presidential Candidate Moon Jae-in made an election pledge to 'guarantee not only the employment insurance and the compulsory industrial accident compensation insurance but also the basic labor rights for the workers in the special forms of employment." 'The five-year roadmap for job creation' announced by the Moon Jae-in government in October last year states that "Legislative and institutional improvement measures will be prepared to protect the basic labor rights of the in-house subcontract workers and the workers in the special forms of employment by the latter half of 2018."
However, the pledge is yet to be realized. On the contrary it reverses its direction in some cases. The MOEL turned down the application for the change of union president of the Korean Construction Workers' Union by requesting the amendment and supplementation, citing the union membership which included the workers in the special forms of employment. A similar refusal was made by the MOEL against the application for the organizational changes submitted by a replacement drivers' union in the driver-for-hire service.
It is estimated that there are about 2.5 million workers in the special forms of employment in Korea. No laws are yet to provide a clear definition on them. Generally, they seem to be like private business owners without employment contracts, but they are meant to be workers who are subject to direct or indirect business instructions and supervision of the companies. The number of vocations and their scales are rapidly growing due to the invigoration of platform labor. As seen in a recent case that about 30 jockeys joined the Public Service and Transport Workers' Union, workers in various vocations are seeking to join the unions. This is the reason why the preparation for the measures for the protection of all workers in the special forms of employment should be expedited by the MOEL.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) on October 20 organized a 'resolution rally of the workers in the special forms of employment' in front of Seoul Financial Center in downtown Seoul in which about 6,000 workers participated and called for the ratification of ILO fundamental conventions and started a sit-in protest.
reported by Yang Ou-ram
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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