Family matters at Seoul MetroAnachronistic nepotism is rampant at the Seoul Metro run by the Seoul Metropolitan government. An HR executive placed his wife, who’d been working on a contract basis, on the permanent payroll and tried to hide his doings. The union abused the Seoul city authority’s decision to convert part-time workers to permanent status following the tragic death of a young contract worker while fixing a platform door in May 2016.
According to Rep. Kim Yong-tae of Liberty Korea Party (LKP)’s finding, a deputy in charge of HR at the time put his wife on the permanent payroll and left her name out on the list of 108 employees whose status has been changed to full-timers. When the Seoul city government embarked on an investigation into the allegation the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, a militant umbrella group the Metro union is affiliated with, ordered union members not to comply with the probe.
Seoul Metro is a highly sought after workplace. Recent recruitment for 555 positions drew as many as 30,340 applications. The company pays 67.91 million won ($69,126) a year on average and ensures a job in the capital. But a public entity whose hiring should be more fair than a private enterprise has begun to feel like a family business under the orchestration of the trade union group. It is no wonder young people complain of unfairness and hopelessness in a society where family members get jobs regardless of how many licenses and credentials they arm themselves with.
The Seoul bureaucratic community under a liberal mayor, who won a third term earlier this year, has become a playing field for leftists. Half of the city’s subsidy for residential solar panels went to three cooperatives loyal to the ruling party. Cho Myung-rae, who is close to Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and tapped as the environment minister, has been pocketing handsome side money in advisery fees to various committees under the Seoul city government. But the city government claims it know little about how much it has paid to Cho.
The mayor has to answer to these snowballing allegations. The ruling party as well as the public office watchdog — the Board of Audit and Inspection — must embark on investigations immediately. Park also must answer the questions about his government and umbrella units sincerely. He cannot avoid accountability, as his preferential treatment to people of his liking and his ambition for presidency could have bred all kinds of irregularities.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 18, Page 30