|▲ Tae Young EMC subcontract workers and Rep. Youn So-ha of the opposition Justice Party hold a press briefing in the press room of the National Assembly on November 7. [provided by the Korean Chemical, Textile and Food Workers' Union]|
Tae Young EMC, a leading limestone company in Korea on October 25 sent an official notice to Dong Bo Industry, a subcontractor firm which is quarrying limestone in the valley(Moss Valley) located in Dogye, Gangwon Province, informing its termination of the contract six months earlier, as the contract is due to expire in March next year.
The Tae Young Lime labor union affiliated to the Korean Chemical, Textile and Food Workers' Union entered into a sit-in to call on the company to negotiate in good faith nearby the workplace, just two days before the company's notice of the contract termination. The abrupt notice of contract termination by Tae Young EMC claimed the job losses of 17 workers. Tae Young EMC stated in the notice that "the contract is terminated because of a production shortfall caused by the labor union's industrial action."
According to the labor union on November 7, the labor union has been undergoing hardships of the dismissal of a union official, pressure for the union membership withdrawal and the contract termination, since the subcontract workers formed a labor union.
32 subcontract workers hired by the two subcontractor firms to Tae Young EMC: Dong Bo Industry and Young Gwang ENG organized themselves to form a labor union on June 2 this year and affiliated to the Korean Chemical, Textile and Food Workers' Union under the umbrella of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
The labor union vice president surnamed Kim hired by Dong Bo Industry was dismissed around on June 10. The labor union was formed to improve the unprecedentedly long working hours and substandard working conditions.
Kim Jin-joo, labor union president said that "union members get paid less than the minimum wage, and even in my case I worked in March this year without a day off and I received a monthly pay of 3 million won(US$2,680) for a full 31-day of work." He denounced the company "suppressing the withdrawal of union membership and blocking the labor union activities through the contract termination."
The collective bargaining started from July 4 and about ten rounds of negotiations were carried out. However, the company has taken a position that it is difficult to accept most of the demands made by the labor union. To find a breakthrough, the labor union made an application for the mediation of a labor dispute with the Gangwon Regional Labor Relations Commission in early last month. As the mediation turned out to be unsuccessful on October 22, the labor union began a sit-in and slowdown from the following day. After the industrial action by the labor union, most of union members were dismissed because of the contract termination and the union membership has been reduced down to 22.
The labor union and Rep. Youn So-ha of the minor opposition Justice Party held a press briefing in the press room of the National Assembly to call on "Tae Young EMC, the real user of the workers to retract the contract termination and negotiate in good faith [with the labor union]."
reported by Yang Ou-ram
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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