Temps must be put on payroll, says highest court

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Temps must be put on payroll, says highest court

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that four temporary employees on Hyundai Motor’s manufacturing lines, who were dispatched by a subcontractor, should be given permanent positions by the country’s largest automaker.

In a verdict ending a 10-year legal battle, the court said four of the seven plaintiffs should be acknowledged as temporary employees at Hyundai Motor and that their jobs were identical to the company’s regular salaried workers.

Four had worked for more than two years, while the rest worked for shorter periods.

Domestic labor law stipulates that non-regular workers sent by subcontractors must be granted permanent positions if they are hired for at least two consecutive years.

Generally, such workers renew their contracts every two years.

In response, Hyundai Motor said it “respects” the court’s decision but feels “dissatisfied” that the authority did not take into consideration the “distinct characteristics” of the subcontract workers’ duties.

Upholding the original verdict, the highest court said it looked into “whether Hyundai Motor gave orders with binding force to the workers, whether they were substantially incorporated into the company, whether the subcontractor solely held the authority over their tasks, whether they had professionalism and technicality over their duties and whether the subcontractor was an independent organization.”

The ruling echoes a verdict from the Seoul Central District Court last September in which nearly 1,000 subcontract workers at Hyundai Motor were ordered to be given permanent positions. Hyundai Motor immediately appealed and that case is pending.

In a different case on Thursday, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling that ordered the state-run Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) to recognize 34 female crewmembers of the bullet train Korea Train Express (KTX) as its regular employees.

The plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit against Korail in 2008 claiming they were dispatched by Korail Retail, a subcontractor in charge of customer services, for more than two years.

But in its ruling, the court said it was hard to say the women had a “direct labor relationship” with Korail.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [selee@joongang.co.kr]

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