Unwanted help from above

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Unwanted help from above


A golfer who wins a professional golf tournament usually rushes to hug his or her caddy first. The caddy is the golfer’s companion, carrying the golf bag and offering key advice during the match. The first recorded caddy in the world caddied for Scotland’s Queen Mary Stuart during the latter part of the 16th century. The word caddy is derived from the French word le cadet, and some have suggested that French military “cadets” carried the clubs for the golfing royalty in France, and Queen Mary Stuart, who had grown up in France, adopted this practice in Scotland.
Caddies are responsible for more than ensuring a smooth golf match ― they provide the golfer with accurate information regarding the course, suggest the perfect golf club for a particular shot, calculate the score among other records, and manage the golf bag. The caddy is more than the golfer’s assistant, which explains why proficient caddies must always concentrate on the match and be alert to regulations and the conditions of the course. On the other hand, a caddy’s mistake can prove fatal for a golfer. Ian Woosnam lost two strokes and his chance of winning the British Open for carrying the wrong number of clubs.
Although professional golfers have their own exclusive caddies, amateur golfers usually rely on caddies working at the golf course; however, these caddies are not official course employees. They are not paid wages, but golfers pay them fees and tips. Since they are not paid actual wages, they are not workers by union standards; yet, it would be hard to view them as being self-employed. In our country, they refer to this kind of ambiguous job as a “specially-hired occupation.” They work independently for a business after signing a contract.
The Department of Labor recently announced a bill to provide enhanced job security for so-called “special non-regular employees,” which allows them three basic labor rights ― to organize, bargain collectively and strike. Considering that caddies are not actual employees, it remains a mystery who they are supposed to collectively bargain with or strike against. Ironically enough, caddies who are supposed to be “protected” by this measure have asked for it to be scrapped. Creating a senseless law for protection only limits their opportunities. Golf courses have announced they will no longer use caddies during the week. Last year, the government announced measures to “protect” apartment doormen and applied a minimum wage standard; older doormen lost their jobs as apartment complexes reduced the number of doormen. Be wary of job losses, as the government is, once again, on the prowl to “protect” people.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Kim Jong-soo [jongskim@joongang.co.kr]
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