More workers suing Hyundai for regular status
Temporary workers at Hyundai Motor have filed a lawsuit in Seoul Central District Court demanding that Korea’s largest automaker grant them regular employee status.
The labor union for temporary workers said Sunday that 116 people filed the action on Jan. 5. They are workers at Hyundai Motor’s Ulsan and Jeonju factories hired by the company’s subcontractors.
In September, Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of 1,247 contract workers who sued to be regarded as regular workers directly hired by the company.
The workers argued that they perform the same tasks and have the same hours as regular employees, but do not receive equal pay.
The court said that though they were hired by Hyundai Motor’s subcontractors, they should be recognized as regular workers because they were under company supervision and had been on the job for more than two years continuously.
Generally, such workers renew their contracts every two years.
Since the ruling, the union has been urging temporary workers who weren’t part of the September lawsuit to file a second action.
A case was initiated in 2010 by Choi Byung-seung, who worked at Hyundai Motor’s Ulsan plant. As the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Choi, other workers filed a lawsuit demanding that Hyundai Motor convert their status to regular, which pays more and provides better benefits.
Later in September, 345 workers of Kia Motors also were recognized as regulars by Seoul Central District Court, which ordered the company to pay 1.7 billion won ($1.6 million) in regular back wages.
“Since the court already has ruled that all employees of Hyundai Motor’s assembly lines should be regarded as regular workers, we think it will influence other similar cases,” said the labor union.
A recent study showed that the monthly wage gap between regular and irregular workers has been widening, particularly at conglomerates with more than 300 employees.
While the wage that regular workers receive at small and midsize companies was two times larger than those of irregular workers, at conglomerates the average difference was three to four times.
The government recently has been trying to bring in more flexibility to the workplace, but has seen little support from either companies or labor unions.
email@example.com [BY kwon sang-soo]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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