Seoul gov’t to increase temporary workers’ payThe Seoul city government announced its plan to improve working conditions for temporary contract workers in the public sector, including raising their salary to at least 70 percent that of full-time workers.
“In the next two years, those who are temporary or contract workers who are paid less than half the salary of full-time employees [with similar jobs] will receive salary raises,” said Yoo Yeon-sik, director general of the Employment and Labor Bureau of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “From next year, they will be paid some 60 percent of the salary of full-time and regular posts, and in 2018, they will be paid 70 percent.”
The salary raise will be applied to employees of public organizations in Seoul that are funded or run by the city government, which includes Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, SH Corporation, Seoul Foundation of Women and Family and Seoul Tourism Organization.
The raise is part of an ongoing plan proposed in 2012 by the city government to improve the working conditions and lives of temporary or contract workers.
One such measure, according to the city government, is to ensure that temporary contractual jobs under regular demand in the public sector become full-time and regular jobs.
According to the city government, 1,133 temporary or contract employees were converted to full-time regular workers in 2012, 236 were converted in 2013, 4,122 in 2014 and 2015, and in 2016 so far, 1,532.
“From 2012 until now, 7,032 temporary or contract workers providing services in regular demand have been turned into full-time workers” Yoo said. “And 264 more are expected to be converted this year.”
The city government said it will continue to bring down the proportion of temporary jobs in public organizations run or funded by the city government.
“Right now, 5.4 percent of employees in Seoul’s public organizations are hired part-time or by temporary contracts,” said Noh Choon-yeol, an official of the Employment and Labor Bureau. “In two years, the city government hopes to bring that down to 3 percent.”
He added, “And we will be surveying temporary posts every year in public organizations to determine whether the job demand is regular and, if it is, to transform them into full-time positions.”
The unequal working conditions of contract workers recently gained media attention after a teenage boy subcontracted to fix platform doors in subway stations in Seoul died in an accident.
Authorities’ investigations have since uncovered the difficult conditions some of these contractual workers face, such as being so busy that they could not afford to eat proper meals during work.
In addition to the salary raise of temporary workers, the city government will ensure labor hours are restricted to 52 hours per week for security guards, cleaning staff and others who are often contracted to work long hours, some even for 24 hours a day.
“The improvement of labor conditions and rights of these temporary workers,” Yoo said, “is a task for both the public and private sector in the city.”
BY ESTHER CHUNG, CHO HAN-DAE [firstname.lastname@example.org]