Incheon airport struggles to upgrade its workers

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Incheon airport struggles to upgrade its workers

Subcontracted workers from Incheon International Airport shave their heads at an event held in central Seoul on Thursday to show their disapproval of the airport’s announcement that they must pass a test or go through the public recruiting system to be upgraded. [NEWS1]

Subcontracted workers from Incheon International Airport shave their heads at an event held in central Seoul on Thursday to show their disapproval of the airport’s announcement that they must pass a test or go through the public recruiting system to be upgraded. [NEWS1]

 
Incheon International Airport’s attempt to offer salaried jobs to its subcontracted workers continues to flounder, as some lost their jobs entirely after failing tests to be upgraded.

 
The airport's labor union, which is part of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, held a press event in central Seoul Thursday to criticize the airport.    
 
The event was attended by 100 subcontracted employees of the state-run airport corporation, including security guards. Some of them shaved their heads in protest of the botched effort to give them stable jobs with benefits.
 
They demanded the airport corporation immediately halt its one-sided push to directly hire irregular workers, which they said was leading to lost jobs.
 
“Security guards believed in the employment promise by President Moon Jae-in when he visited the airport [in May 2017],” said Gong Min-cheon, head of the union representing the subcontracted security guards. “But the corporation forced a direct hiring procedure that wasn’t demanded by the laborers, and unilaterally decided we'd be fired if we don’t pass the test.”
 
Since the airport announced in June it would offer standard employment to more than 2,000 workers including subcontracted security guards, it has come under fire from existing employees. They say the upgraded contract workers should get jobs at the airport corporation’s subsidiaries, not at the airport corporation itself.
 
Jobs at Incheon Airport are considered choice positions, and many applicants were disappointed that positions were being offered to the subcontracted workers.
 
The subcontracted workers are in two groups. Those who started working for the state-run corporation after the president visited the airport in May 2017 have to undergo a public recruiting process to get the regular employment. Those who started work before Moon’s promise have to undergo tests to upgrade their status.
 
Lee Jong-hyuk, a subcontracted employee who keeps animals away from runways, said, “I’ve been working at the airport for decades, but was suddenly told to go through a test, and was notified that I lost my job.”
 
Some 47 subcontracted workers have lost their jobs.
 
BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
 

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