Securing jobs, job security

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Securing jobs, job security

The effects of economic stagnation are now affecting the job market. The aftermath of falling sales and restructuring is translating into less hiring and higher unemployment. Most exposed are non-regular workers whose job security is the weakest.

Under current labor protection law, an employer is required to convert non-regular workers to regular workers after two years in the workplace. This law, although seeming to increase job security for non-regular workers, is in truth proving to do the very opposite.

Companies burdened by the mandatory conversion have either avoided hiring non-regular workers or terminating their contracts before they complete two years on the job. In other words, non-regular workers are being driven out of the workplace.

Once the economic stagnation deepens, the number of non-regular workers removed from their jobs will increase further.

For the reasons outlined above, since last year the government has been trying to amend the law to extend the temporary employment period from the current two years to four years. The goal is to temporarily reduce the burden of companies and ease the pressure to lay off non-regular workers. However, extending the term cannot solve the fundamental problem.

During the emergency economic countermeasure meeting held on Jan. 22, President Lee Myung-bak said, “This only postpones the problem to two years later,” and demanded a measure that tackles the source of the non-regular workers’ problem.

At this point, despite whether the non-regular worker protection law is abolished or not, we urge that it be reviewed from square one. A more realistic measure that could help non-regular workers get jobs should be sought. To achieve this, it is necessary for the established regular workers’ labor union to change their ways of thinking.

Without the regular workers conceding ground, job security for non-regular workers will be impossible. The key issue, however, is not improving the treatment of non-regular workers but rather to secure more jobs.

The law on non-regular workers should be approached from a different dimension from mere job sharing.

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