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Piecework-pay `Return` Creates a Stir

Posted May. 21, 2001 08:48,   


``A systematic `return` campaign is illegal.`` ``Pride is not for sale.``

The office of South Geongsang Province and its Government Employees’ Conference (GEC) are standing face to face with the issue of the piecework-pay return.

The office of South Geongsang Province sent an official letter to the GEC on 21st that demands GEC to stop the piecework-pay return fight. Yet, the GEC rejected the demand immediately. The piecework-pay is one with which the government is blamed although they give the money. Why is this issue of piecework-pay stirring the government employees?

Payment examples : According to Ministry of Government Administration and Home affairs, the piecework-pay system that was introduced this year for the first time has been adopted in 47 central government organizations. In case of district governments, 12 megalopolises’ self-governing organizations including South Geongsang Province finished paying off the piecework payment. 20 percent of all elementary self-governing organizations also have paid off the piecework-payment.

According to the payment standard, the S grade, the highest 10 percent, receives 150 percent of monthly salary. A and B grades receive 100 percent and 50 percent of monthly salary. The C grade, the lowest 30 percent does not receive any piecework-payment.

However, despite the standard, it appears that a significant number of organizations evenly shared the piecework-pay money.

`Return` movement: Among members of South Geongsang Province’s GEC, 60 percent of members finished deposit of the piecework-pay money into an account that the GEC had opened for the `return` movement. Even though the uncomfortable relationship between the office of South Geongsang Province and its GEC can be considered, it is unusual to see such a systematic opposition to a government policy by public workers.

It is expected that the money is to be deposited into a personal account of South Geongsang Province’s governor on 24th.

Other GECs are closely watching South Geongsang Province. Although they have not yet begun to act, they are complaining about the standard of piecework-payment.

Pro & Con: GEC has agreed to a basic position to introduce the competition principle into the government employees. However, they opposed the premature introduction of the policy without the consideration of the peculiarity and professionality of the administrative work

They also say that the method of evaluation for administration’s actual achievement is obscure. The problem for a chance to create a sense of incompatibility has been also pointed out.

Kim Young-Gil, the president at South Geongsang Province GEC, said, ``If the office does not receive the returned money, they will donate it to nonprofit organizations or deposit it as a special fund after collecting members’ opinions.

The government’s opinion is that it is unavoidable situation to adopt the principle of competitiveness in the government employees. They argue that although the standard for evaluation is not perfect, but the government did its best to set the fairest and objective standard. They also said that there is a significant number of public workers who are in favor of the piecework-payment system although they remain silent because of the loud voice of the majority.

Gong Chang-Suk, the chief director at South Geongsang Province’s self-governing administration bureau, said, ``It is not right for public employees with official duties to impede a legitimate execution of a law.`` ``We will take a strong measure against the related officials after receiving Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs’ guide.`` he added.

To this matter, specialists said, ``The introduction of the piecework payment system is necessary for reformation and change of government employees. But the priority is to prepare an evaluation standard with which all public workers can agree with.``

Kang Jeong-Hoon manman@donga.com