Irrational demandsThe law to protect irregular workers took effect on Sunday, and it is already having serious side effects. Some companies have fired their employees on temporary contracts and replaced them by setting up contracts with outsourcing companies.
The law stipulates that irregular workers must be transformed into regular workers after they have been in the same job for more than two years.
Companies are now searching for a way to survive because they will not be able to afford the increase in the cost of labor when the irregular workers become regular ones.
As a result, workers with temporary contracts are now being pushed out of their jobs. The law designed to protect irregular workers is throwing them onto the street.
Labor Minister Lee Sang-soo pushed for the law. He now blames companies for the side effects.
In a meeting with entrepreneurs yesterday, he said it was wrong for companies to set up contracts with outsourcing companies to replace their irregular workers.
It is the same as forcing the companies to turn their irregular workers into regular ones while prohibiting them from setting up contracts with other companies, even though that is completely legal.
He even threatened to thoroughly investigate the companies which chose to establish contracts with other companies instead of keeping their irregular workers to determine whether they ever violated any laws.
Ideally, every irregular worker could be hired as a regular worker. But companies hire irregular workers because they do not have enough money to hire only regular workers.
Considering this, it is irrational to demand that all irregular workers be changed into regular workers. Ignoring this reality, the minister is pushing companies into a corner.
If companies hire every irregular worker who has worked for them for two years, as the minister demands, they will probably have a hard time staying afloat due to the increased labor costs.
Will Minister Lee take responsibility if these companies go under in the end?
In the workplace, labor and management battle each other because companies replace irregular workers with outside workers. The law designed to protect irregular workers has become a cause of conflict between labor and management.
The government must stop making irrational demands of companies, and instead fix problems in the law.